Commemorating the honored dead at Bunker Hill
The morning of June 17 saw modern-day patriots gather at the top of Bunker Hill to remember those patriots who fought and died in this town on Saturday, June 17, 1775. This day marked the 236th anniversary of the first pitched battle of the Revolutionary War, as the colonists took on the elite British forces in their quest for freedom.
As has become a tradition, the day began with a service of music, prayer and readings at St. Francis de Sales Church – on top of Bunker Hill.
Guests were led into the church by the color guards of the USS Constitution, the Charlestown High School MA 761st Air Force JROTC and the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard, accompanied by The Charlestown Militia Company 1775, Colonel Thomas Gardner’s Regiment, the Italian-American Band and piper Brian Flynn of the Bunker Hill Pipe Band..
The service included readings by Arthur Hurley, chairman of the Battle of Bunker Hill Commemorative Committee and John J. Alves, president of the Bunker Hill Monument Association (BHMA).
Rev. Daniel J. Mahoney, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church, served as moderator, welcoming the gathering. Also taking part in the service was Rev. Gareth Evans, rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The St. Francis de Sales organist and choir provided inspirational music for the ceremony including “Here I Am, Lord” and “How Great Thou Art.” Kathleen Adams, accompanied by the Italian-American Band, thrilled the gathering with her rendition of “Ave Maria” and “America the Beautiful” and the Brian Flynn played “Amazing Grace.”
Following the service, the guests, color guards, militia units, and bands formed a procession outside the church and, led by Monument Orator Brigadier General John Carlson, US Army (Ret.), marched to the Bunker Hill Monument Grounds.
Also in the march were students from Charlestown schools carrying American flags, along with a marching delegation from the Warren-Prescott School, and the Harvard-Kent School.
The first order of business at the commemorative exercises was the presentation of the colors by participating color guards followed by Kathleen Adams singing the national anthem, accompanied by the Italian-American Band.
Hurley, chairman of the celebration, welcomed the gathering and introduced the guests.
James L. Nelson the Monument Orator on this, the 236th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill delivered an eloquent oration although abbreviated due to the increasing rain.
Students from the Harvard-Kent performed a patriot song and step just before the ceremony was abruptly halted due to downpour.