Vietnam War Memorial re-dedication is Saturday

MIKE LABELLA/ Staff photo

From left, members of the mayor's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission charged with moving the memorial: City Councilor Tom Sullivan, Ralph Basiliere, Patrick Driscoll, president of the Haverhill Exchange Club, and Linda Gambino. An official re-dedication of the memorial at Mill Brook Park on Mill Street is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday.

HAVERHILL — All local veterans, their families and other members of the public are invited to attend the re-dedication of the city's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which takes place at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Mill Brook Park, which is opposite the entrance to the Plug Pond Recreational Area on Mill Street.

More than 125 people are already planning to attend the event, which will include a talk by keynote speaker, former City Councilor Louis Fossarelli, a veteran of the Vietnam War who was at the forefront of requesting the city move the memorial from the north side of the Basiliere Bridge to a location that would offer better access and offer more space for memorial ceremonies.

The ceremony will also include a moving tribute honoring Haverhill's sons who were killed during the Vietnam War, a presentation by Ralph Basiliere, who was named after his uncle, the first Haverhill casualty of the war. Basiliere will talk about the launching of a new fundraiser to create a memorial to all members of the military from Haverhill who served during the Vietnam War era. Opera singer, Neal Ferreira of Haverhill, will sing patriotic songs. Taps, on the bugle, will be performed by Haverhill police Sgt. Kevin Lynch.

The memorial honors the following 13 Haverhill men who were killed in the Vietnam War and whose names are noted on the granite memorial: Ralph T. Basiliere, William L. Bonnell, William J. Cahill, Gregory C. Davis, Richard O. DeMaris, Frederick G. Derocher, James A. Finn, Michael J. Gambino, Barry S. Kyle, John C. Peel, Willard R. Ryan, Robert P. Schena and Arthur P. Williams.

The memorial, dedicated on May 3, 1973, was originally placed near the foot of the Basiliere Bridge because of its connection to the bridge's namesake, Ralph T. Basiliere.

Granite curbstones that form a ring around the memorial were donated by Davco Excavation and were installed at no cost by Allied Paving Corp. of Chelmsford, while the Haverhill Exchange Club and Linwood Cemetery donated a flag pole. In all, local businesses and individuals donated more than $15,000 in goods and services to the relocation effort, organizers said.