North Attleborough honors the fallen with small Memorial Day ceremony

Veteran's Agent Assistant Nicole Pelletier lays a wreath at a memorial in Mount Hope Cemetery during a Memorial Day ceremony on Saturday, May 23. All those who participated wore masks and practiced social distancing. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Saturday’s Memorial Day parade was a much smaller event than is normally held. A float from the DAV was the only one in the parade. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max

In March, the town was faced with a difficult challenge—how hold a Memorial Day ceremony when the COVID-19 pandemic had forced any large events to be canceled.

Veterans Agent Rebecca Jennings said not holding a ceremony was never considered, and work began to see what else could be done. The result was a smaller event held on Saturday, May 23, with only a dozen vehicles, one float, and no one marching or making speeches. As the vehicles made their way down North Washington Street, a few people waved or saluted.

It went remarkably well. We loved the support we got from the community,” said Jennings. “When we started this whole process, we were unsure of how [it would be done].”

The ceremony began on Park Street and ended at Mount Hope Cemetery. Members of the DAV, State Rep. Betty Poirier and others took part, all wearing face masks and respecting social distancing. Three wreath-layings were held at the town’s memorials to those in the Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice, and flags were placed on veterans’ graves. Jennings said North Attleborough was one of the few towns that held a ceremony, while others opted for a virtual event that was recorded and posted to the local cable access channel.

In North Attleborough we’re very patriotic,” said Jennings. “We couldn’t let Memorial Day go by without honoring the fallen.”

Veterans salute as a wreath is laid at Mount Hope Cemetery for Saturday’s Memorial Day ceremony. The ceremony was limited to a small number of people. Staff Photo/Max Bowen