The town, a farming community, had fewer than 1,000 residents, so the ceremonies featured few young men.
John Collier took these photos of the ceremonies in Ashland in 1943 for the Office of War Information. He also wrote the captions. All photos courtesy Library of Congress.
Saluting the dead of the first World War.
All boys and young men were in the Memorial Day parade; there were almost none in the audience.
A congregational minister at the Memorial Day ceremony offering a prayer for divine guidance through the years of war.
Girl scouts marching through the streets during the ceremonies.
Though only a small farming center with a population under 1000, Ashland has a good band with lots of purple trim and gold braid for the Memorial Day ceremony.
Sounding taps during the ceremonies.
Marching from the cemetery at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremonies.
The County in WWII
The sparsely populated Aroostook County lost 239 young men in World War II, either missing in action, killed in action or killed in the line of duty.
All was not grim during the war, however. The Maine Folklife Center recorded this story by a telephone operator named Georgie Orcutt. She was working one night, and received a phone call from Portage, Maine.
“Bud McKinney and Jerry Sleed were having a party and Jerry wanted to put in a call to Hitler. I didn’t know hardly what to do with the call, but I talked to the Presque Isle operator and we kept telling him the line was busy. And finally he called in and said, ‘Well, I’ll talk with Mussolini.’ So after a while I told him they were both out. He said, ‘Hitler may be out, but I know Old Moosey isn’t!’”