Some weeks it is more difficult being the mayor than other weeks. Early this past week, City Councilor Joe Ciolino remarked, "Gosh Mayor, this week is not going well for you and it is only Monday."
And while the week had its ups and downs, I want to pause and invite the community to participate in the Memorial Day services on Monday. The city's goal is to honor the fallen heroes of every war in a solemn and inclusive ceremony. To achieve this goal, we have altered the starting point of the parade and its route.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. Monday at Harbor Loop. We will proceed along Main Street via Manuel F. Lewis Street (where the Rose Baker Senior Center is). From Main Street, we will proceed toward the American Legion building at the intersection of Washington and Middle streets.
At the American Legion building, which is home to the American Legion Lester S. Wass Post 32, the parade will pause for a rifle salute by the AMVETS Post 32 color guard at the Joan of Arc statue. The Joan of Arc statue is the city's World War I Memorial.
From there, we will proceed down Middle Street to Western Avenue. We will pause for a rifle salute at the Korean War Memorial on the Boulevard. The parade will continue on to Kent Circle, home to the World War II Memorial, and there the traditional ceremony will begin.
After the Kent Circle ceremony, the parade will reform and then continue on to the Vietnam Memorial at Gloucester High School for a continuance of the day's observance. The Cape Ann Transportation Authority will provide transportation for those needing it from Kent Circle to the High School.
On Memorial Day, we need to stand united and honor the fallen from all wars and this year's parade and observance provides the community the opportunity to do so.
Remember the heroes of World War I by watching the parade and salute at the Joan of Arc statue or reflect on the sacrifices of those who fought in the Korean War as we pay tribute at the Korean War memorial on the Boulevard. Or join us for the ceremony at the World War II memorial at Kent Circle and then walk together as one city to the Vietnam Memorial at Gloucester High School for an intimate service honoring the sons of Gloucester who fell during the Vietnam War. This year is especially significant because it marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War.
In an effort to be as inclusive as possible in the city's Memorial Day observance, we had to overcome some logistical challenges which we failed to do at first but corrected immediately as people spoke about an injustice that was occurring. As one Vietnam veteran who stopped me on the street this week said, "Someone once told me to not get stuck in the weeds, and that's what happened to you on this." He is absolutely right.
We all need to get out of the weeds once in a while and keep in mind a bigger picture, a bigger meaning. And in this case, let's not forget that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Hope to see you along the parade route or at the Memorial Day services on Monday.
Carolyn A. Kirk is the mayor of Gloucester.