Haverhill Observes Vietnam Veterans Day Early In Light of Emergency Rules; Lays Wreath

Haverhill Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission Chairman Ralph T. Basiliere places a wreath at the memorial. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill quickly pushed up Vietnam Veterans Day yesterday with a ceremony at the new Veterans’ Memorial at Mill Brook Park, near Plug Pond.

Haverhill Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission Chairman Ralph T. Basiliere said he cancelled Sunday’s wreath-laying ceremony after Gov. Charlie Baker extended emergency actions yesterday. However, arrangements were quickly made and a ceremony took place at 1 p.m.

“Notwithstanding this time of disruption, it’s important to honor Haverhill’s warrior sons and ensure the people that we’re functioning and storm-hardened to complete the mission,” Basiliere said.

Commissioner Linda Gambino Baxter, whose brother Michael is one of Haverhill’s 13 sons honored at its memorial, collected the wreath which was donated for a second year in a row by Angelo the Florist.

Basiliere, named for his uncle—Haverhill’s first Vietnam casualty—had originally planned a larger event, then scaled it back when a limit of 25 was placed on gatherings and then further reduced it when the number of people was limited to 10. Finally, he decided to have an impromptu event.

Besides Basiliere and Baxter, among those attending the ceremony were Commissioners Patrick Driscoll and Daniel Plourde. Plourde is brother of the late Donald J. Plourde, a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Army.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, signed into law in 2017, designates March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. On March 29, 1973, the last combat troops were withdrawn and last prisoners of war returned to American soil.

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