28th Charlie Howard memorial service set for day of gay man’s death

Meghan Ireland and her mother, Julie Ireland of Hampden, walk past the Charlie Howard Memorial (foreground) at Kenduskeag Plaza in downtown Bangor in July 2009.
Meghan Ireland and her mother, Julie Ireland of Hampden, walk past the Charlie Howard Memorial (foreground) at Kenduskeag Plaza in downtown Bangor in July 2009. Buy Photo
Posted June 30, 2012, at 1:51 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The 28th annual Charlie Howard Memorial Service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 7, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St.

Worshippers are asked to use the lower entrance. After the service, participants will walk to the State Street Bridge at about 6:45 p.m.

Those walking to the bridge are asked to bring flowers to drop into the Kenduskeag Stream.

Howard was an openly gay man who was attacked on July 7, 1984, by three teenagers and thrown into Kenduskeag Stream from the State Street bridge during Bangor’s sesquicentennial celebration. He drowned at the age of 23.

Lois Reed of Carmel knew Howard when both were members of the Unitarian Church, now the Brick Church at the corner of Union and First streets. She will help lead the service.

This year’s memorial will be low-key compared with events held in 2009, the 25th anniversary of Howard’s death. A week of activities that summer culminated with the dedication of a granite memorial next to Kenduskeag Stream.

A rededication ceremony was held in May 2011 after vulgar graffiti was painted on the memorial.

Engraved on the stone near the spot where Howard died are the words: “May we, the citizens of Bangor, continue to change the world around us until hatred becomes peacemaking and ignorance becomes understanding.”

For more information on the service, call the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor, 947-7009.

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