Retiring Holiday Committee Chair Will Be Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal

May 20, 2024
Bedford’s Memorial Day celebration begins May 27 at 11 a.m. Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

After about 20 years chairing the town Patriotic Holiday Committee, Paul Purchia turned the reins over to Peter Ricci a few weeks ago and thought he could finally join the spectators on Memorial Day.

Not this year.

The committee selected Purchia, a U.S. Army veteran, as grand marshal of Bedford’s annual Memorial Day parade, scheduled to step off from Mudge Way at The Great Road at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27, ending about a half-hour later at Veterans Memorial Park for ceremonies. 

Bedford’s Memorial Day template is in two segments with many of the components focusing on war memorials with remarks, brief prayers, rifle volleys, and “Taps,” played by Bedford High School buglers Alex Mattson and Jack Vance.

Ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Korea and Vietnam Memorial outside American Legion Post 221 at 357 The Great Road. Then the focus moves across the street to the Civil War memorial at Shawsheen Cemetery where former Selectman Donald Corey will share some of his extensive research on the war’s impact on Bedford.

The next stop is the Major Barry Seidman Memorial Bridge over the Shawsheen River on The Great Road west of Shawsheen Avenue. Traditionally, that’s the site of brief ceremonies honoring Navy veterans, and one of them, Bedford Veterans Agent William Linnehan, will have the honor of depositing a memorial bouquet into the waters.

At around 10 a.m., a ceremony at the Old Burying Ground on Springs Road incorporates a salute to the early residents buried there and remarks by former Bedford Historical Society President Alethea Yates. Terrence Parker also is scheduled to deliver his annual presentation about the burial area for the town’s early Black citizens, including three enslaved residents who were among the fighters in the American Revolution. 

A few minutes before the parade, the Bedford High School Reserve Officer Training Corps will conduct its annual tribute to the four BHS graduates killed in action since the end of World War II. The ceremony is at the memorial plaza near the entrance to BHS on Mudge Way.

En route to the culminating program, the parade will stop at the World War I memorial on the Common. Yates will offer some historical context, as she has done at that boulder for several Memorial Days. Among the speakers expected at Veterans Memorial Park will be Col. Taona Enriquez, Commander of the 66th Air Base Group at Hanscom Air Force Base; State Rep. Ken Gordon; and Shawn Hanegan, chair of the Bedford Select Board. The Bedford High School Marching Band will play patriotic selections.

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Peter Ricci
May 23, 2024 7:21 am

We were proud to nominate Paul, a Vietnam veteran to be the Grand Marshal, after ‘retiring’ from the Chair position. Rain or Shine, (we have an indoor rain plan) please come out and support this event.

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