Memorial Day parade returns, though with some restrictions

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Historical re-enactors fire a volley during the 2019 Memorial Day parade. On May 29, the town will hold a Memorial Day ceremony with a vehicle parade, speakers, and a laying of wreaths at Barrows Memorial Park and Mt. Hope Cemetery. File photo

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

This coming Saturday, some of the familiar sights and sounds of Memorial Day will be back in North Attleborough.

It was recently announced that the town would hold a Memorial Day parade on May 29. With the recent relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor gatherings, the decision was made to move ahead and hold the annual event to honor those in the Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Veterans Agent Rebecca Jennings said that the community and town government were very supportive of holding the event. Planning began back in March, but the event was “at a standstill” in April as they awaited news on revised rules for outdoor gatherings.

In mid-May, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a lifting of COVID restrictions effective May 29. All industries will be permitted to open at 100 percent capacity, and the guidelines for outdoor gatherings will be lifted.

When they opened it up that made us really happy,” said Jennings. “Everything kind of ran on what the governor was saying.”

Some guidelines will be followed for the event. Those participating in the Memorial Day Parade will be in their vehicles, and the North Attleborough High School band will have a small ensemble for the occasion. Chairs at Barrows Memorial Park will be spread out to accommodate for social distancing.

It feels exciting to be able to recognize Memorial Day for those that we lost and the fallen,” said Jennings. “It’s tough not to be able to do that for veterans and their families.”

Last year’s Memorial Day was marked with a brief vehicle parade followed by a laying of wreaths at Mt. Hope Cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized, so as to avoid large crowds of spectators.

Town Manager Michael Borg—a retired U.S. Army Colonel—described the event as a great way to break out of COVID. When the town’s numbers began to rise earlier this year, he was worried about the impact it would have on the parade.

I think COVID has really complicated a lot of the holiday celebrations,” said Borg. “But this one is an important one to me, one I have a connection to.”

The Memorial Day event will begin at Barrows Park at 10 a.m. with a number of guest speakers. This includes State Rep. Adam Scanlon, Town Council President Keith Lapointe, and Steve Travers, a retired sergeant major and new member of the Veterans Advisory Board. There will be a ceremonial laying of the wreath, and performance of “America The Beautiful” by the high school band.

The car parade will follow this, after which there will be a laying of wreaths at the Medal of Honor recipients’ graves at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Borg and Town Council Vice President Keith Lapointe will speak at this portion of the event.

I want people to remember the sacrifice and what this day really talks about,” said Borg.