Spectators Explain Why They Came to Memorial Day Ceremonies
To remember veterans who have died; Police Officer Jack Maguire remembered, too.
They remembered. People gathered together Monday morning at several sites to salute local veterans.
After a short parade up Main Street, marchers in the city’s Memorial Day parade stopped first at the Common, then at Woodbrook Cemetery and two cemeteries in east Woburn, the Jewish cemetery and Calvary Cemetery, to remember veterans who have died.
Along the parade route on south Main Street stood Eleanor Gagnon of Woburn. She comes to the parade and ceremony on the Common to show “appreciation for soldiers who have died.”
Likewise, Bob Melanson comes “to honor the veterans.” A veteran himself, he goes to all the solemn ceremonies in the city, he said. He also goes because his daughter, Nikkie, is in the high school band. She plays the flute.
Peter Fleming, a veteran, stood near his son, Caden, 4, on the Common. Peter wants to teach Caden “what Memorial Day is,” as much as he can understand: “for veterans who died.”
At the ceremony on the Common, George Poole, commander of the Woburn United Veterans Council and an Army veteran, offered a thank you for “a job well done” to police Officer Jack Maguire, who was killed at Christmastime responding to a call of a robbery at Kohls.
“May you rest in peace,” Poole said.
Larry Guiseppe, city director of veterans services, spoke emotionally about the Vietnam Moving Wall memorial.
All ceremonies included music by the WMHS Band, the Woburn City Band and singer Joanne Campbell, brief remarks, a volley of rifle fire by the Woburn Leatherneck Detachment of the Marine Corps League and Taps, played live by three trumpeters in different locations at each site, each echoing the haunting notes.
After the ceremony on the Common, marchers regrouped and walked to Woodbrook Cemetery. A few people on Salem Street came out—or opened their front doors—and watched the parade. Fabio Santos said he saw the parade for the first time. A city resident for five years, he lives nearby. He walked over to Salem Street because he heard the “noise.” For him, Memorial Day is a day off.
At Woodbrook Cemetery, a group including Gloria Oneal stood with her mother, Irene Durisin, who was visiting from Michigan. They were both waiting for the Woburn Memorial High School Band, and Gloria’s son and Irene’s grandson, Jake. He plays in the drum line. Irene was happy to snap his picture.
When the ceremony ended at Woodbrook, marchers headed for buses to take them to the east Woburn fire station, where they arranged themselves in parade order again to march to the final two cemeteries.
Jim Diorio stayed still. He looked lost in thought.
“I realize how fortunate we are,” said Diorio, of Wilmington, who grew up here. “I could have cut the grass today,” but he went to all the local ceremonies. Some of his relatives who were veterans are buried at Calvary Cemetery, he said.
Raindrops held off until marchers stepped off from the east side fire station. Then a few tears fell from the sky.