Memorial Day – Field of Honor & Schedule of Events
I want to thank everyone who has inquired about and shown support for the events coming up for Memorial Day. My hope is to keep everyone informed about the events that are happening surrounding Memorial Day, and invite you to attend, as they are all open to the public. Feel free to share this information with anyone who you think may be interested.
Decorating our Veterans Graves, Monday, May 20th
- St. John’s Cemetery, 165 West Street @ 6pm (RAIN DATE)
-Every year we decorate the more than 3,000 veterans graves who are buried here in Attleboro. We were rained out of our scheduled time to visit St. John’s Cemetery, so we’re going to try again next Monday. There are over 781 veterans buried at St. John’s Cemetery, making it the final resting place of more veterans than any other cemetery in the City.
In the event that we are rained out a second time, we will try again the following day. I hope you’ll join us for the rewarding experience of ensuring that those who defended our way of life are never forgotten.
Field of Honor, Wednesday, May 22nd
- Veterans Memorial Common @ 12 Noon
-For the third year in a row, we will establish a Field of Honor at the Veteran’s Memorial Common. Our Field of Honor will consist of 7,442 flags: one for every name which appears on the five memorial obelisks at the Veterans Memorial Common. This is especially meaningful to those veterans who are still living, some of whom even help us place the flags on the Common. This display is truly a sight to behold once the flags are in place, and I encourage everyone who is available to join us.
Events for Sunday, May 26th
- Hillside Cemetery Sunrise Ceremony @ 8 am
-The Sunrise Ceremony at the Hillside Cemetery is the oldest continuing ceremony in Attleboro. We will honor the 138-year-old tradition of gathering at the Hillside Cemetery on to honor our fallen service members. We will have guest speakers and a military tribute. Coffee and donuts will be served after the ceremony in honor of the late Donald M. Forget, courtesy of his wife Judy.
- South Attleboro Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion @ 10 am
-We will gather at the Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion for a Tribute to the Fallen, and reflect upon the importance of community, to acknowledge the freedoms we have, and to honor those who fought to protect our way of life. Please note that the site of the Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion is in the park behind Lee’s Pond, near the Coelho Middle School.
- G.A.R. Memorial at Woodlawn Cemetery @ 11:30 am
-The Woodlawn Cemetery on North Main Street is home to a remarkable memorial in honor of the soldiers who served in the Civil War. This memorial was erected in 1880, and for at least 30 years afterward it was the first and only memorial in the Commonwealth erected exclusively by former soldiers.
Woodlawn Cemetery is also the final resting place of Attleboro’s singular Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt Thomas K. Gay. We will take the opportunity to honor Sgt Gay’s accomplishments and plant a special flag at his gravesite.
- Purple Heart City Sign Unveiling @ 1 pm
-We will gather at the Veteran’s Memorial Common in Downtown Attleboro to unveil street signage which proudly indicates that the City of Attleboro is a Purple Heart City. Our City was designated a Purple Heart City by the Military Order of the Purple Heart in April of 2015. Our DPW Superintendent Michael Tyler has worked with a sign vendor to create beautiful
Events for Monday, May 27th
- Memorial Day Parade, from Willett Elementary to Capron Park @ 10 am
-We will host our traditional Memorial Day Parade which begins at the Willett Elementary School and routes through Downtown Attleboro to end at Capron Park.
We have over 40 units registered to participate in the parade, including multiple marching bands and period reenactors. Special this year we will honor Mr. Richard Oliver, an 86 year old U.S. Navy Veteran of the Korean War, as the Grand Marshall of the parade.
- Memorial Day Observance Ceremony, Veteran’s Memorial Triangle @ 11:30 am
– Following our parade, we will have a short ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Triangle at Capron Park with guest speakers and a military tribute.
Attleboro has observed Memorial Day since at least 1873. Newspaper articles from the early 1870s on file at the Attleboro Library discussed to the event in a tone that indicated it was business as usual, which leads me to believe that our observance dates back even farther.
Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in 1868 when General John A. Logan, leader of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of Union Veterans), called for a nationwide observance for the purpose of “strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”
Residents and veterans in Attleboro would parade through the City, marching with much fanfare to the cemeteries at Old Kirk Yard, Woodlawn, South Attleboro, Dodgeville, and Briggsville each in turn.
- Collation & Reception, South Attleboro American Legion Post 312 @ 1 pm
-The American Legion Post 312 on Newport Avenue in South Attleboro will open its doors to the public for a Reception and Collation for Memorial Day. Light refreshments, hot dogs, and hamburgers will be served.
Thanks for taking the time to read all the way to the end! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these events, and I hope to see you at any or all of these events.
Ken Badertscher, Director
Department of Veterans Services | City of Attleboro
Phone: 508-223-2222 x 3282