Yesterday I drove flag lined ME-9 Downeast to the town of Machias, Maine to learn more about Margaretta Days and enjoy a bowl of moose meat soup. Learning is all well and good, but there should be interesting food and pretty flowers involved. Which is precisely why I passed on Milo’s Black Fly Festival.
The Margaretta Days Festival celebrates the American Revolution Downeast, specifically the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Margaretta, the first Naval Battle of the American Revolution. It’s said the fighting rebels at Machias were a more challenging enemy than those at Bunker Hill to the British. For those interested in more history: http://thehistoryjunkie.com/battle-of-machias/
This annual festival encourages everyone to enjoy travelling back in time to life in 1775. It was a lot of fun with history coming alive and an encampment of soldier re-enactors and period demonstrations.
At the festival I wandered among trappers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, weavers and spinners. I watched as a young girl learned to toss a tomahawk and slurped down a bowl of moose meat soup. Everyone enjoyed the Navy band’s patriotic music and guest speaker Passamaquoddy Chief Jean Baptiste Neptune.
Sitting next to the bandstand was a WWII vet whom I approached to thank him for his service. His name is Robert Coles and he was thrilled to tell me how just over 73 years ago he was in Hawaii as the Japanese flew overhead and started dropping bombs. Chief Radioman Coles is Maine’s sole survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor that took place two weeks shy of his 18th birthday. Our conversation was riveting. He told me how thanks to it being a clear sky they watched in shock as Japanese naval planes shredded much of the American fleet. An amazing man. I felt honored to sit and listen to the Navy Band play with him.
It was a day families enjoyed and remember for years to come. Our troops have fought proudly many times since the Battle of the Margaretta, and this day was a chance to remember the brave service and sacrifice of so many in defense of our freedom. Thank a veteran today.