LAWRENCE — On Monday, the city will pay tribute to one of its forgotten heroes — the late Marine Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau — by naming a square in his honor at the corner of Hampshire and Alder streets.
“This honor is long overdue,” said retired Army Major Richard Kelley, of Andover, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Kelley and Joseph Hey of Lawrence, another Army veteran of the Vietnam War era, petitioned the City Council last month to name a square to honor Corriveau after reading a front page story in The Eagle-Tribune last Memorial Day.
Despite receiving three Purple Hearts and other military honors for combat service in Vietnam, Corriveau was wrongly classified as a deserter after vanishing Nov. 18, 1968 from the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.
The story told how Corriveau wasn’t really a deserter, but a murder victim whose body sat in an unmarked John Doe grave until a relentless campaign by his sister to clear his name finally led to the identification of a body found on the Pennsylvania Turnpike about the same time he was reported missing from the hospital. It wasn’t until September of last year that Corriveau’s remains were exhumed and re-interred with full military honors in the family burial plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Monday’s ceremony is set for 2 p.m. at the corner of Hampshire and Alder Streets. The Lawrence Police Department Honor Guard, led by Sgt. Michael Simard, will participate in the dedication of the square. A rifle detail and a bugler from the American Legion Post 8 of Andover will provide the military gun salute and taps. Lawrence Veterans Services Director Jaime Melendez will make some brief remarks about Corriveau.
Corriveau’s sister, Virgina Cleary, of North Conway, N.H., will unveil the special sign marking the intersection, near the home where Corriveau last lived in Lawrence before enlisting in the Marines and heading to Vietnam. The ceremony is being held on the 45th anniversary of Corriveau’s death.
“It is a great honor,” Cleary said in a telephone interview last night. “Finally, people will get to know the story of my brother Bobby.”