Haverhill Memorial Day Display Features More Than 450 Flags Honoring Veterans

The Grondin-Carnevale Funeral Home, 129 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

U.S. Flags honor war veterans outside Grondin-Carnevale Funeral Home, 129 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

Lawrence A. Carnevale. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Those driving along Kenoza Avenue this past weekend were likely surprised to see more than 450 American flags seemingly popup suddenly on the lawn of a local funeral home.

The surprise Memorial Day observance was the work of funeral director Lawrence A. Carnevale, of Grondin-Carnevale Funeral Home, who set out not only to honor his veteran father, who passed away last year, but also all of Haverhill’s other war veterans.

“We had the idea of dedicating it to all the veterans but, on a personal note, it was a tribute to my father, Robert A. Carnevale—20 years United States Air Force and a veteran of Korea and Vietnam,” Carnevale said.

Although the flags popped up overnight Friday into Saturday, the idea has been in the works several months. Carnevale said it was suggested by Jennifer Hale, another staff funeral director. “I said I wanted to do something for veterans—and specifically, we were thinking of our dads, who were veterans, war veterans specifically.”

Besides Carnevale’s father, funeral director Kevin J. Grondin’s father, Robert Grondin, served during World War II, and Hale’s father served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

Passersby waved and beeped their car horns in appreciation, but the most emotional moment for Carnevale came from a child’s gesture.

“What was really awesome is a lot of times our parking lot serves as a playground for kids when there is nothing going on here, and a little kid separated from his mom and walked over to the big flag pole in the middle of all and did the Pledge of Allegiance. It was awesome. It was just a great moment,” explained Carnevale.