The state, as well as most cities and towns, will recognize Memorial Day this year in a virtual format to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic but still allow for the public to honor members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice.
A series of events kicked off with virtual observances at the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke on Thursday and Friday, followed by a coordinated statewide lighting of public buildings, bridges, flags and parks set for Sunday night, and concluding with a Memorial Day program that will air on Monday.
Town halls in Ipswich and Wenham, as well the public works building in Beverly, will be among a slew of public buildings around the state that will be illuminated in gold Sunday to honor Gold Star families in Massachusetts.
In terms of Memorial Day services on the North Shore, many of those ceremonies will be smaller gatherings with restrictions and/or broadcast live on local cable access with the public invited to tune in. A motorcade or two is in the works though.
Veterans, along with other volunteers, have placed more than 3,500 flags on veterans graves in all of the city's cemeteries. On Memorial Day, Beverly veterans organizations will place wreaths and floral tributes at the city's memorials and parks. At 11 a.m., a brief program will be held at Odell Park. If you wish to attend, you must wear a mask and practice safe distance. All of this will be filmed to air on Beverly Cable Access a week after Memorial Day.
The American Legion has worked with BCATV to bring the traditional Memorial Day service to residents remotely during the health crisis. The remembrance, which will air Monday at 11 a.m. on Comcast Channel 8 and Verizon Channel 45, which give special acknowledgement to first responders.
A rolling caravan of cars will honor the fallen Monday, starting at 9 a.m., followed by a virtual ceremony broadcast on Danvers Community Access Television at 10 a.m. The video will air on Channel 99 (Comcast), Channel 36 (Verizon), as well as DCAT’s YouTube Channel, and Facebook Page. The ceremony will include a special talk of Danvers Memories by Town Archivist Richard Trask and will be shown a second time at 6 p.m.
The American Legion will hold a very small ceremony and wreaths will be laid at various sites throughout town. The town hopes to hold a larger gathering and ceremony some time later this year. Residents are asked observe a personal moment of silence at 3 p.m.
The town will decorate local veterans’ graves with flags, as this does not place the public at risk, and hopes to observe an expanded Veterans’ Day ceremony later in the fall when the health crisis has lessened significantly. The town asks its citizens to observe Memorial Day with a moment of silence at 3 p.m.
On Monday, at 10 a.m., the Marblehead VFW will hold a graveside ceremony at Waterside Cemetery, 321 W. Shore Dr. Gather afterward at the Canteen to celebrate the lives of those who died for our country.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual parade and ceremony have been canceled. Instead, the town has created a compilation video of the past two years' parades and ceremonies, along with a new video of veterans agent Gary Bent and members of the National Guard and Army Reserve placing flags at veterans' graves in Oakdale Cemetery, followed by the lowering of the flag at the cemetery. These videos can be viewed on the town's cable TV channel and YouTube channel.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt will host a virtual version of Peabody’s annual Memorial Day ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Cedar Grove Cemetery. The ceremony will include the mayor, two representatives of the Peabody Veterans Council, veterans agent Steve Patten and one or two other veterans. Peabody TV will broadcast the event live on Channel 9 as well as on its Facebook and YouTube platforms.
Salem officials and veterans will conduct a service Monday at 11 a.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery, which will be recorded by SATV. The public is invited to watch live at www.facebook.com/cityofsalemma. Only eight to 10 speakers will be in attendance. Speakers will include Mayor Kim Driscoll, state Sen. Joan Lovely and Dr. Donna Seger, the chairperson of the history department at Salem State University.
Residents are invited this weekend to decorate their front porch, windows or lawn in patriotic fashion and then share a photo of their tribute to the fallen online at facebook.com/lynnswampscottvets #swampscottfrontporchsalute.
There will be a Memorial Day rolling convoy of cars to honor those who died for our country starting at the Topsfield Fairgrounds Parking Lot A, between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. and getting underway at 10 a.m. All are welcome to join the convoy or stand/sit in front of their homes to wave flags in support as the convoy passes. A service will then be held at Pine Grove Cemetery. Convoy participants must remain in their vehicles.
Due to COVID-19, the town's Memorial Day parade is canceled this year, but the Wenham Veterans Committee invites residents to watch a pre-recorded remembrance ceremony airing at 9 a.m. Monday morning and at various times throughout the rest of Memorial Day on HWCAM's Comcast 8 and Verizon 36 and online at www.wenhamma.gov/newsdetail_T2_R496.php.