Haverhill City Councilor Creates Main Street Memorial Honoring 13 Veterans Who Died Last Week

Thirteen flags honor the 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor. The display appears at 743 Main St., Haverhill, near the intersection with Primrose Street. (Courtesy photograph.)

Thirteen flags appeared this week in front of a commercial building on Main Street in Haverhill—an impromptu memorial to the 13 U.S. service members, including a Lawrence marine, killed last week during an Islamic State attack in Afghanistan.

Haverhill City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, who is also a military veteran and annually sponsors a breakfast in honor of Haverhill veterans, assembled the display at 743 Main St., near the intersection with Primrose Street.

“Being a veteran, as you know, and thinking about how devastating that is to the 13 young people who lost their lives and their families, the least I could do is erect this memorial in their honor,” McGonagle told WHAV.

The names of the 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor were affixed to the poles holding each of the 13 flags.

McGonagle, himself served in the U.S. Navy with three years of active duty and assigned as a hospital foreman, followed by eight years in the reserves. He said he was moved to act.

“What they did was amazing. They’re very unselfish, and their families. I just can’t imagine the grief that they go through,” he added.

With the tragedy, McGonagle said it is more important than ever that the annual Sunday pre-election breakfast in Haverhill goes forward in November to benefit veterans in need. The Veterans Alliance of Greater Haverhill took over the pre-election breakfast that became a city tradition when Rep. Brian S. Dempsey was in office. It is planned Sunday, Oct. 31 at the AmVets, Post 147, 576 Primrose St., Haverhill.

The names affixed to each flag pole are 25-year-old Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario of Lawrence; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee; Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover; Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui,; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz; and Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak.

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