Haverhill Vietnam Memorial Finds New Home In Mill Brook Park

The memorial at Mill Brook Park was dedicated in November. (Courtesy photograph/John Sielicki)

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of serviceman Barry S. Kyle’s last name. WHAV regrets the error.

Former City Councilor Louis Fossarelli asked the Haverhill City Council to find a better home for a memorial dedicated to Haverhill residents killed during the Vietnam War. (Courtesy photograph/John Sielicki)

Haverhill veterans, officials and residents came together to celebrate the relocation of a war memorial only one day prior to Veterans’ Day.

On Saturday, over 100 people attended a re-dedication ceremony for a Vietnam veterans memorial originally located on the north side of the Basiliere Bridge. The memorial was moved after Vietnam veteran and former City Councilor Louis Fossarelli made a request to the council that it be moved to Mill Brook Park, allowing more space for ceremonies and for people to sit and reflect.

Fossarelli was the keynote speaker for the event, recalling how the 13 soldiers listed on the memorial were among the millions of Americans who served during in Vietnam. Fossarelli said despite the unpopularity of the war, the veterans of it should be honored for their sacrifices and the scars they earned from the war. He finished by saying he appreciated the work that went into the new memorial and loved the Haverhill community for their support.

Cpl. Ralph T. Basiliere also spoke during the event. Basiliere serves as the Chair of a commission created by Mayor James J. Fiorentini to manage the memorial re-dedication. Basiliere said that the re-dedication will feature a second phase to improve both the appearance of the memorial and Mill Brook Park. He told the crowd he is committed to finishing the project, while reminding the other members of the commission there is still more work to be done.

“Being appointed a commissioner is not a reward for past accomplishments, but a declaration that much is expected of you. Today, the hard part begins,” Basiliere said.

The new memorial, which was funded entirely through donations, features granite curbstones, lined with various flowers, surrounding a flag pole and the memorial. Listed on the memorial are the names of the 13 soldiers who died while serving in the Vietnam War: Pfc. Ralph T. Basiliere, Sgt. Will R. Ryan. Pfc. Arthur P. Williams, Sfc. James N. Finn, Lance Cpl. Richard O. Demaris, 1st Lt. Robert P. Schena, Staff Sgt. William L. Bonnell, Pfc. John C. Peel, Spc. Barry S. Kyle, Cpl. Frederick G. Derocher, Pfc. Michael J. Gambino, Warrant Officer William J. Cahill and Cpl. Gregory C. Davis.