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A Memorial Day Field Trip Into History


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This past Memorial Day, Lt. David Bourbeau, Waterways Management Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New England, took his two young daughters on a field trip to visit local cemeteries.

As part of that Memorial Day lesson, he took them to the gravesite of lighthouse keeper Marcus Hanna in South Portland, Maine and told them a little about Hanna’s incredible legacy of how he is the only person in history to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Gold Life Saving Medal.

Marcus Hanna was born on November 3, 1842 at Maine’s Franklin Island Lighthouse where, in 1830, his father, Thomas Hanna, had become the station’s first keeper. Later in life he followed in his father’s footsteps as a lighthouse keeper at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, Maine where he served until 1873, when he was transferred to the two lights at the Cape Elizabeth Light Station. It was at Cape Elizabeth where on April 25, 1885, he was awarded the Gold Life Saving Medal for saving the lives of two sailors. Later, in 1895, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in 1863 during the Civil War at Port Hudson, Louisiana.

We commend Lt. David Bourbeau for teaching his young children an important lesson in history that will be remembered by them for the rest of their lives. Both of the young girls laid some fresh cut lilacs, and stayed still long enough for their father to capture a few photographs of this precious moment in time.

Pictured (l-r) are Grace Bourbeau and Lila Bourbeau at the gravesite of Marcus Hanna at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in South Portland, Maine.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2016 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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