North Attleborough cheers and reflects at Memorial Day parade

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The Rehoboth Rifilemen perform a gun salute to onlookers at the North Attleborough Memorial Day parade on Saturday, May 27. Staff Photo/Adam Bass
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abass@northstarreporter.com

The Memorial Day parade and memorial service on May 27 was a somber, yet joyous occasion, as veterans, families and children gathered on Washington Street to watch the celebration.

Flags put in place by the North Attleborough Electric Department turned the street into a canopy of red, white and blue as the procession marched to Barrows Veterans Memorial Park.

Leading the parade were the North Attleborough Fire and Police departments, who carried the flags of the United States and State of Massachusetts. Proceeding them were a cavalcade of colorful jeeps from the Metro-West Jeep Club and elected officials from the Town Council. The crowd cheered the procession and were particularly excited for the North Attleborough Disabled Veterans Organization and the Rehoboth Minutemen, who performed rifle salutes. The parade also featured Boy Scout Troop 23, members from the Elks Lodge 1011, and musical performances of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “The Marine’s Hymn” by the Colonial Bagpipers and the North Attleborough High School Band.

At the park, Veterans Agent Stephen Travers welcomed everyone to the memorial service.

“It’s a great day in North Attleborough,” Travers said. “Today is a great day to remember those that gave their lives to defend our lives.”

The service began with a rendition of the National Anthem by the NAHS band, followed by “America the Beautiful” by the Colonial Pipers. Elected officials gave speeches about the importance of Memorial Day. State Rep. Adam Scanlon (D-North Attleborough) said those from North Attleborough made a sacrifice through their service to the country, and that sharing their story honors them.

“By sharing these stories of these brave and selfless individuals, we keep their memories alive and give them one more opportunity to serve their community,” Scanlon said. “Right here in North Attleborough is where all roads lead to them.”

State Sen. Paul Feeney’s (D-Foxboro) speech discussed the importance of life, and the strength of North Attleborough’s community during Memorial Day.

“North Attleborough is a special place,” Feeney said. “Evidence by today, this gathering, and this parade.”

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Craig Chapman, a retired Sergeant Major of the Massachusetts National Guard and a North Attleborough Police Officer of 30 years.

In his speech, Chapman reflected on his upbringing and service. He originally viewed Memorial Day as nothing more than a three-day weekend.  That perspective changed in 2009 when a friend of his was killed in action in Iraq, after which he saw it as something meaningful. He understood what Memorial Day meant—honoring those who gave up their lives for others and their home.

As the Rehobeth Riflemen fired a 21-gun salute and the NAHS band played taps, Chapman said this occasion was what Memorial Day meant to him.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said.  “To remember them.”