Naylor's Memorial Day Tradition To Continue At LMS
Middle School teacher Gail Naylor, retiring after this school year, turning over annual Memorial Day tradition to colleague.
For at least two decades, Lynnfield Middle School teacher Gail Naylor has been leading her students to two of the town's historic cemeteries to place flags on the graves of Lynnfield veterans who served in the Revolution, the Civil War, and other conflicts. The cemeteries are also home to some of the most prominent names from the town's 300-year plus history.
On Thursday though, Naylor led her last group of 5th graders to the 1728 Old Burying Ground across from the Town Common and the West Burial Ground on Main Street. The longtime Lynnfield teacher is retiring after the current school year, wrapping up a career that has spanned some three decades.
"My whole teaching career has been in this town," said Naylor, who currently teaches 5th grade but who has also taught English and reading for 7th graders. While Naylor is retiring however, the tradition of honoring town veterans that she started is not going away. She reports that another LMS teaching colleague, Mark Vermont (who also coaches the girls soccer team), will be taking over the duties.
During Operation Desert Storm, Naylor started having her students write letters to troops overseas because one of the parents had a brother serving in it at the time.
Naylor's own military family ties, plus some local history research, played key roles in the creation of this yearly event. Her daughter Brooke is stationed in Qatar with the Air Force, and her husband, who passed away several months ago, was an Air Force veteran. She also said that her father in law was a tailgunner who flew in four missions over Normandy during World War II. "The Naylors are a military family, very much," said said.
Also joining the group at the cemeteries was Lynnfield Police Officer Nicholas Secatore, who shares the town veteran's agent job with Officer Matthew LaBonte. Arthur Kellerman, himself a former longtime Lynnfield educator, was on hand as well to play Taps on the bugle after the students were done placing the flags.
Along with distributing flags on the graves of the town veterans, the students also took time to study the dates and inscriptions on the stones, to be compared back in class to a map of the cemeteries compiled in a previous Eagle Scout project.