Memorial Day Update

Memorial Day in Bedford will be virtual – and, unofficially, actual

Paul Purchia, who chairs the town Patriotic Holiday Committee, said this week that the traditional components of Memorial Day ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Park will be pre-recorded and broadcast on Bedford TV.

These plans were announced on April 9, when the committee confirmed that the parade and ceremonies were canceled to ensure “the safety and health of all Memorial Day participants and attendees, as we still continue to deal with the pandemic,” based on “current state public health guidelines.”

But this week Gov. Charlie Baker proclaimed that, thanks to the retreat of Covid-19, limits on outdoor gatherings will be lifted on May 29.

That engendered quick plans for a traditional Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 31, orchestrated by leaders of American Legion Post 221 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1628. Participants will follow some of the usual template of tributes at local war memorials but without the parade and remarks,

The itinerary begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Legion post, 357 The Great Road, location of the memorials honoring veterans of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts. The group will proceed to Shawsheen Cemetery to pay respects at the Civil War Monument, followed by a brief acknowledgment of naval veterans at the bridge that spans the Shawsheen River on the Great Road.

After a hiatus of more than two hours, the observances will reconvene at Veterans Memorial Park at 11:30 a.m. “for some words of respect, and to lay poppies on each of our Bedford veterans’ markers who were killed in action,” said Jon O’Connor, commander of Post 221.

Meanwhile, remarks by elected and military officials and the roll of recently deceased veterans will be available for viewing on Memorial Day. Cable subscribers will be able to tune to Comcast 99 or Verizon 40 at 8 a.m., or 1 or 5 p.m. The video also will be accessible beginning at 8 am on Bedford TV’s Youtube channel, The video will remain available on YouTube after Memorial Day.

Speakers will be Col. Katrina C. Stephens, commander, 66th Air Base Group, Hanscom Air Force Base; Select Board Chair Margot Fleischman; State Sen. Mike Barrett; State Rep. Ken Gordon; and Purchia. Former Selectman Joe Piantedosi will read the names of local veterans who passed away since last Memorial Day. John Cooper will offer the invocation and benediction.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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