Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 12, 2012
Annual Harborside Independence Day activities not at all dampened by rain
by Faith DeAmbrose
A little bit of rain came and went in the hours before people commenced preparations for Harborside’s annual Independence Day activities on July 4. Despite having to trade sunscreen for Gore-Tex, spirits did not appear to be dampened one bit as hundreds of people lined the short stretch of roadway at 9:45 a.m. in anticipation of things to come.
Beginning at the home of Harborside “mayor” Dick Klain, the parade was led by Earl Clifford who guided walkers, floats, fire trucks and a myriad of children down and back across the half mile parade route. Among the parade participants was a giant ant, animated by Mark Kindschi and followed by many squawking and screeching “birds,” a pirate, Uncle Sam, a boat rowing atop an SUV, a float honoring President Barack Obama and a scene from “Christmas in July,” complete with a decorated tree.
Following the parade George Lirakis led the group in song. He also took care of some annual housekeeping business, strong-arming the crowd toward a vote for Harborside Mayor and Vice Mayor, gaining overwhelming support for the reelection of Dick Klain and Tony Downer respectively. Lirakis also took a moment to mention all the Brooksville residents who died and were born in the past year.
In addition to the prayers and poems spoken in honor of the nation’s birthday, the crowd also heard from Castine resident Paul Jacobs who commanded the USS Kirk during the Vietnam War and more specifically during the fall of Saigon. Jacobs and the crew of the Kirk were credited with taking swift action to rescue thousands of South Vietnamese refugees at the war’s end. The action is considered to be one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever undertaken by the U.S. military. He spoke for a few minutes about the successful mission and what it meant for the U.S.
Jacobs grew up in Milbridge, was a Maine Maritime Academy graduate, and relocated back to Castine a number of years ago. He said he was “lucky enough” to learn about Harborside’s Independence Day events “only recently” and suggested that he might be back in future years.