Litchfield Marches Forward despite Downed Power Lines and Bad Weather

June 2, 2017


by Len Lathrop

Nothing was going to dampen the memorial celebration in Litchfield on Monday.  Marchers were ready, the fire station would house the speakers along with the Campbell High School band and choir members, and the wreaths would still be laid.

A car into a telephone pole on the Charles Bancroft Highway with downed wires added another challenge to the day’s events, requiring that the parade’s starting point change to the Aaron Cutler Library.  Traffic from the south was rerouted up Pinecrest to Albuquerque and then Hillcrest and back to the CB Highway.  People parked on the side of the road as they got close to the library.

As Dr. Steven Calawa put it, “indeed flexibility and alternative planning saved the day for the Litchfield parade!”  Dr Calawa, along with Margaret Parent, introduced speakers and spoke at the celebration.  Calawa mentioned that focus this year was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I.  The speaker was Jon Hopwood, whose grandfather, Claude, and his two brothers, Bill and Earle, all served in World War I.  The land that the Aaron Cutler Memorial Library sits upon was part of the old Whittemore/Hopwood farm and later donated to the town for a library site by Jon’s great-grandmother, Susie Whittemore Hopwood.

The focus of Jon’s address was about how profoundly the First World War changed the world.  The old world order was cast aside and a new world order emerged with the USA and Russia as the two great powers of the 20th century.  The world as everyone knows it today is a result of the changes begun by World War I.

Meanwhile, the community will miss Phil Martin, musical director at Campbell High School, who is retiring in June after 41 years in education, 17 of them in Litchfield.  Phil has been an integral part of our Memorial Day festivities in town for many years.  He was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Litchfield Historical Society for providing inspiring musical accompaniment for the town’s annual observance by the CHS band and choir.  The entire community will miss Phil, but everyone wishes him well in his well-deserved retirement.

The Litchfield’s remembrance is truly a community event with Police Captain Benjamin Sargent and Fire Chief Frank Fraitzel leading the Pledge of Allegiance, with the high school band and chorus offering “Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” the “Navy Hymn” and “Armed Forces on Parade.”  Rev. Dr. Lori Wiley from the Litchfield Community Church gave the Invocation and Benediction.

Wreaths were placed in memory of “All Who Served” at three locations:  Granite Marker — For those who served in all wars, veteran Daniel Guerrette, U.S. Army (accompanied by Nathan Readybough Cailler, U.S. Air Force); Merrimack River —  In memory of those lost at sea, veteran Jennifer Ferraro Lang, U.S. Army (accompanied by Johnathan Hoffman, U.S. Army); and Library Plaque —  For those who served in World War I and World War II, veteran Colonel Kelly Fraser (Retired), U.S. Army and veteran F. Robert Leary, U.S. Army, assisted by the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Crew.