A quiet, somber Memorial Day

May 26, 2020 by

UNDER THE AUSPICES of the Veterans Services Department and the Veterans Advisory Board, last Friday volunteers placed flags on the graves of Veterans in Forest Glace Cemetery. (Mark Sardella Photo)

Published in. the May 26, 2020 edition.

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD – The solemn holiday of Memorial Day took on an even more subdued cast this year as Wakefield’s traditional observances were canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

JAY PINETTE, Chairman of the Veterans Advisory Board, places a flag at the grave of a veteran at Forest Glade Cemetery on Friday. (Mark Sardella Photo)

Normally, the day would feature the West Side Social Club’s morning ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. outdoors on Moulton Field. There would be remarks by town officials and a veteran would deliver the keynote speech. Local singer Carissa Scudieri would sing the National Anthem, Amazing Grace and God Bless America. Sentries would decorate the memorial trees that encircle Moulton Field as the names of the fallen were read.

At one time, Wakefield’s afternoon ceremonies would kick off with a small parade featuring veterans, Boy and Girl Scouts and the Wakefield Memorial High School Marching Band. They would march down Main Street to the World War II Memorial, where exercises would begin at 1 p.m.

In recent years, the parade was discontinued and afternoon ceremonies have been held in Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Galvin Middle School. Speeches from local and state officials would stress the true meaning of Memorial Day and the Wakefield Memorial High School Wind Ensemble would play patriotic music.

But this year, none of that would happen.

Instead, the Wakefield Veterans’ Service Office invited residents to remember, respect and honor the sacrifices made by our brave fallen heroes by decorating their homes, doors or windows with patriotic spirit leading up to Memorial Day.

One event this weekend did bring people together, however.

Despite that fact that it couldn’t be advertised due to social distancing guidelines, dozens of patriots turned out late Friday afternoon at Forest Glade Cemetery to place flags on the graves of veterans.

Mask-wearing volunteers were handed bundles of flags which they proceeded to place at each headstone in the veterans’ sections as well as at the graves of all veterans buried in the public sections of the cemetery.

The effort was organized by the Wakefield Veterans Service Office and the local American Legion post. Earlier in the week, flags were placed on veterans’ graves at Lakeside Cemetery.

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