VFW Steps up with Patriotic Home Decorating Plan as Haverhill Cancels Traditional Memorial Day

Veterans and city leaders gathered to mark Haverhill's Memorial Day parade and remembrance ceremony at Linwood Cemetery on May 27, 2019. (WHAV News file photograph.)

As Haverhill cancels formal, in-person, Memorial Day observances this year because of the coronavirus, Veterans of Foreign Wars Lorraine Post 29 is inviting residents to residents to decorate their homes or apartments in a patriotic manner.

The Haverhill VFW suggests such as ideas as decorating front doors with homemade signs, flags or pictures of flags; displaying red, white and blue in windows; or even simply displaying an American Flag. Recognizing the economic effects of the pandemic, officials said homemade signs will work just fine.

VFW Post 29 Commander Keith Gopsill said, “As this most humble holiday approaches, and this pandemic continues to keep us apart, we need to adapt and overcome to continue the annual remembrance of those who have gone before us. We invite all residents to show their pride and support for those who helped pave the way for our freedoms by decorating the city with our Grand Old Flag of red, white and blue.”

The VFW’s plan comes as Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he cancelled official Memorial Day activities after consulting with Veterans Services Officer Amanda Buckley and local veterans’ groups. The mayor’s office said the order primarily affects the annual Memorial Day parade and the ceremony at the conclusion of the parade at Linwood Cemetery. The mayor said, “We must put the safety of the public first right now, but please keep our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers and please honor our American Flag and those who defend it this Memorial Day.”

Besides the VFW observance, the city is working with veterans’ groups to plan a remote celebration Memorial Day, May 25, to honor servicemen and servicewoman who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

Shawn Watkins, senior vice commander of VFW Post 29, said simple acts are a great way for the community to come together, while being socially distant, to show respect and appreciation for our fallen heroes. “We, as Americans have a solemn duty to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” he explained.

The VFW asks residents to consider displaying their appreciation from Memorial Day to July 4.

“It is utmost important that we come together and remember, honor and pay respect to our fellow veterans who have come before us and defended our Nation. When families and friends visit their loved ones at the cemetery, we want them to know their loved one is never forgotten,” added Junior Vice Commander Donald R. Jarvis.

Gopsill and Jarvis are scheduled to address WHAV listeners on the preparations Monday, May 18, at 7:45 a.m.

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