Haverhill recognized its living World War II veterans with a special ceremony Saturday morning in downtown Haverhill.
Honorees included Ralph DiVincenzo, Loreto DiVincenzo, Edwin Girrior, Ed Parker, James Boland, David Lane, Stanley Williams and Hy DerBogosian. Each were presented with plaques, military pins and U.S. flags by Haverhill Veterans Services Director Luis Santiago, who served as a keynote speaker along with 1st Sgt. Jeffrey E. Thompson.
A color guard welcomed the veterans, guests and speakers in Washington Square, where the city’s World War II memorial is located. Wilbur M. Comeau American Legion Post 4 Commander Chris Manning opened the ceremony and the National Anthem was performed by the Sons of Italy Drum and Bugle Corps with vocalist Bella Perotta. Speakers included Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Reps. Linda Dean Campbell and Andy X. Vargas.
Honor Flight New England founder and Executive Director Joseph Byron gave veterans with round-trip tickets to visit the national World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Appearing over 97.9 WHAV, Santiago earlier gave credit for the ceremony to John DiVincenzo, son of World War II veteran Ralph DiVincenzo, who is 99, and the nephew of 95-year-old Loreto DiVincenzo.
“They are looking to recognize their father and uncle who have sacrificed their time in war when we had basically an enemy who was foreign, and thanks to individuals like his father and his uncle, we aren’t speaking a different language today,” Santiago explained.
God Bless America was sung by Kerrin Mullen. Taps was played by the Sons of Italy Drum and Bugle Corps. Others in attendance included military representatives, families and Haverhill city councilors.