Vietnam War Commission Meets Wednesday to Discuss New Haverhill Memorial

Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News

The current Vietnam War memorial sits on the Water Street side of the Basiliere Bridge. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s newly appointed 11-member panel meets for the first time on Wednesday, Sept. 26 to discuss the relocation of the current Vietnam War Memorial from the Water Street side of the Basiliere Bridge to Mill Street Park.

Co-chaired by Chris Smardz and Ralph Basiliere, the nephew of Haverhill’s first Vietnam casualty, the committee eventually plans to fundraise for and commission the design of an updated memorial to be installed at the Mill Street location.

In the meantime, Basiliere tells WHAV the commission has received early support from Haverhill businesses eager to donate their time and talents. Among them is Atwood Memorials, whose owner Rick Atwood agreed to relocate the current memorial free of charge. Davco Excavation’s Jay Davidowicz plans to move the flagpole and install a 16-foot granite enclosure at the Mill Street site, also free of charge, Basiliere said.

The full committee includes Michael Ingham, the city’s Veterans Services Director, John Ratka of Northeast Veterans Outreach Center, and fellow veterans Keith Gopsill and Gerald Boucher. Lynda Brown and Councilors Melinda E. Barrett, Joseph J. Bevilacqua and Thomas J. Sullivan will also take part.

Wednesday’s meeting is open to the public and held in room 301 of City Hall, 4 Summer St., starting at 7 p.m.