Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Receives Donation Honoring Casualty, PFC Williams

Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial is receiving a $25,000 boost in its maintenance fund as an anonymous donor seeks to honor one of the Haverhill men killed in action during the conflict.

The donation recognizes Marine PFC Arthur Paul Williams who died Aug. 26, 1966 in the Quang Tri province in South Vietnam. Haverhill Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission Chairman Ralph T. Basiliere said the donation came via attorney Stacey Shaheen Bellabona of Portsmouth, N.H.

“I’m overcome by emotion. Having grown up with PFC Williams’ nieces and nephews, I’m acutely cognizant of their suffering. This donation means the Commission can fulfill every promise made to our Vietnam Veterans,” Basiliere said in a statement.

Basiliere said the contribution is the Commission’s single largest donation. “I recall countless sleepless nights, in 2019, pacing the floors wondering how I could leverage the last hundred dollars into the next victory,” he said.

The new Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mill Brook Park is to be formally dedicated in September on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Rep. Linda Dean Campbell is scheduled as keynote speaker. There will also be songs sung by Neal Ferreira and other festivities.

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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