Coast Guard, Portland Head Light Museum, Cape Elizabeth celebrate holidays at Portland Head Light

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine- Coast Guard Sector Northern New England’s commander, Captain James McPherson, will join members of the Cape Elizabeth town council at Portland Head Light at 1:00 PM on Friday, Dec. 11th, 2009, for the unveiling of a donated holiday wreath. The wreath will be lit with energy efficient LED lights and will be showcased from the lighthouse for the public to enjoy.

This event marks the first of it kind for the famous Maine lighthouse and stems from a widespread tradition in which many Coast Guard units around the county join their local communities to decorate lighthouses for the holidays.

James Rowe, chairman of the Cape Elizabeth town council, is excited that the Coast Guard is bringing that tradition to Cape Elizabeth. “On behalf of the town of Cape Elizabeth,” he said, “I want to thank the Coast Guard and the Portland Head Light Museum for the opportunity to display the wreath for the community to enjoy during the holidays.”

“We are happy to participate in this event with the Coast Guard,” Jeanne Gross, the director of the Portland Head Light Museum, added. “For years, we have thought a wreath would look wonderful on the tower at Portland Head and this year we will actually see one. Thank you to our donor who has made this project possible.”

Members of the Cape Elizabeth town council and McPherson will share brief comments regarding the Coast Guard’s long-lasting relationship with the community ever since the Coast Guard first operated the Portland Head Light in 1791. One of Portland Head Light’s most historic events will be highlighted in which watch standers from the light helped rescue 13 people from the clipper Annie McGuire after the vessel ran aground on the rocks near the light on Christmas Eve in 1886.

“The Coast Guard and our predecessors have a tradition of service in Maine dating back to 1791,” said McPherson. “Every year Coast Guard men and women stand watch on Christmas to serve those who may be in peril. “This year, there will be approximately 73 men and women in Sector Northern New England ready to respond to those in distress.”

In addition to the wreath ceremony, the Coast Guard will announce the date for next year’s Open Lighthouse Day event which will be September 18, 2010. Open Lighthouse Day is an annual event in which the Maine Office of Tourism and the Coast Guard partner to open nearly 30 of Maine’s iconic lighthouse structures in one day for the public to visit. This year event which took place in September was a great success as 28 lighthouses were opened with an estimated 15,500 people visiting them.

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