PHOTOS: Haverhill Marks Wreaths Across America Day at Hilldale Cemetery

Local leaders and community members gathered at Hilldale Cemetery during a previous Wreaths Across America Day. (Jay Saulnier photographs for WHAV News.)

Local leaders and community members gathered at Hilldale Cemetery Saturday for Wreaths Across America Day. (Jay Saulnier photographs for WHAV News)

Haverhill paid tribute to the city’s fallen veterans Saturday during the Dec. 15 Wreaths Across America Day, joining more than 1,400 locations nationwide in placing wreaths on the graves of deceased servicemen and women.

Joining Mayor James J. Fiorentini, state Reps. Andy Vargas and Diana DiZoglio and City Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan and Melinda E. Barrett for the day of remembrance was VFW Post 29 Commander Keith Gopsill, along with members of each branch of the armed forces. In addition to the wreaths placed graveside, a ceremonial wreath was laid to represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen, herself an Army veteran, delivered the keynote address, which focused on the Wreaths Across America pledge to “remember, honor and teach.”

“As we can plainly discern, we continue to live in both challenging and dangerous times. Democratic principles around the globe are being challenged at an alarming rate by the specter of totalitarianism and extremism in times of crisis. The challenge to democratic principles is very real,” Campbell told the crowd of 175 gathered at Hilldale.

“Because of this current state of affairs, it is vitally important now that we reach out to future generations quickly so that they understand that—while we should be always hesitant to wage war—the sad fact throughout human history is that waging war it is sometimes a necessity for which there is no other substitute.”

Wreaths Across America location coordinator Tammy Dobrosielski, who worked alongside Hilldale Cemetery Association President Thomas Spitalere and others to procure wreath sponsorships from individuals and businesses over the last several months, told WHAV she was humbled by the community’s tribute effort.

“The Wreaths Across America mission to remember our veterans and teach our next generation about the values and costs of our freedom is very important,” she told WHAV.