Haverhill’s Hilldale Cemetery Plans Memorial Day Weekend Veterans Photo and Message Board

Hilldale Cemetery. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s Hilldale Cemetery is scheduled to kickoff its socially distant Memorial Day weekend observance Saturday by erecting a special board where residents may write messages and post photographs of veterans.

Cemetery Trustee Thomas Spitalere recommends residents bring their own markers for writing on the board on Hilldale Avenue and bring copies of any photographs and tape to post them.

“It’s a memorial board for our veterans and it’s never been done before,” said Spitalere. The board will remain in place through Monday.

Memorial Day, during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, is different, conceded Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. In a blog post, he said, “There will be no parade or graveside ceremony or public gatherings. But, the honoring of our flag and the remembering of our brave men and women who lost their lives defending it will go on, perhaps even more powerfully and heartfelt that in ‘normal’ times.”

Meanwhile volunteers are busy placing flags on veterans’ graves at cemeteries.

On Monday, HC Media channel 22 will broadcast prerecorded tribute videos, speeches and messages from Fiorentini, City Council President Melinda E. Barrett, Whittier Tech student Chase Bowen and Veterans of Foreign Wars Lorraine Post 29 VFW Junior Vice Commander Donald R. Jarvis. The program also includes the annual AmVets Post 147 traditional Memorial Day gun salute and playing of Taps, both recorded earlier this week at Linwood Cemetery. The program airs Monday at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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