LAWRENCE — After 45 years, the late Marine Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau finally got an honorable homecoming yesterday — a true hero’s tribute fitting for the three-time Purple Heart winner.
A police detail closed the corner of Hampshire and Alder streets shortly before 2 p.m. so the city could dedicate “Corriveau Square.” The ceremony marked the anniversary of the Marine’s death — the day his unidentified body was discovered on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The military had wrongly classified the then-20-year-old Marine from Lawrence as a deserter until a year ago. It never connected him to the murder victim found on the state highway. Corriveau had vanished from a psychiatric hospital in Philadelphia several hours before state police found the corpse they named “John Doe,” who had been stabbed through the heart. The case remains unsolved.
Deserters don’t get a street marker with their name on it, an honor guard, a rifle detail, a bugler playing taps and a solemn ceremony near a home where they once lived. But Corriveau got all of that and a public apology from the city’s veteran services director, Jaime Melendez, on behalf of a grateful city.
“Cpl. Corriveau’s service to this nation is unequaled,” Melendez told the group of close to 100 gathered at the intersection for the dedication ceremony.
Melendez stressed it was unfortunate for the fallen Marine “to serve this nation so honorably and for so long not to be recognized.”
“We bring him home ... We do it with honor and dignity, that which he deserved.”
Melendez also cited the tenacious campaign by Corriveau’s younger sister to clear his name. Virginia Cleary, of North Conway, N.H. refused to accept the military’s assertion that her brother was a deserter. It took more than four decades for the military to admit that Cleary was right.