In a Sign of the Post-COVID-19 Era, Haverhill Plans Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dedication Sept. 11

Wreaths were laid last Veterans Day by Vietnam veteran Charles Grandmaison and Linda Gambino Baxter, whose brother Michael Gambino, was killed in action during that war. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s new Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mill Brook Park receives its long-delayed formal dedication in September on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The new park didn’t receive a proper opening last fall as the city’s then COVID-19 ranking moved up to the moderate-risk “yellow” scale. Ralph T. Basiliere, chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission, said the observance finally takes place Saturday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m., with Rep. Linda Dean Campbell as keynote speaker, songs by Neal Ferreira and other festivities.

The dedication ceremony subcommittee is being led by Commissioner Linda Gambino Baxter whose brother, Michael J. Gambino, was one of Haverhill’s 13 who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Haverhill City Council President Melinda E. Barrett, who will serve as master of ceremonies, and Commissioner Patrick Driscoll will also serve on the subcommittee, according to Basiliere, who was named for his uncle—Haverhill’s first Vietnam casualty.

The memorial moved from near the Basiliere Bridge in 2019 at the urging of former City Councilor Louis Fossarelli to the new site near Plug Pond. Since that time, the park has been transformed by brick-paved walkways to two circular areas for monuments. A seven-ton obelisk, a new ‘13’ memorial and education stanchions made of granite were placed—with granite coming from the same quarry that supplied the original memorial.

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