Communities to mark Memorial Day with parades, ceremonies

Among the many ceremonies and parades to mark Memorial Day this weekend and on Monday, the town’s veterans groups will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Granby Veterans Memorial Park. The showcase of the park — built on an elevated site off State Street  — is a stone wall monument decorated with plaques engraved with hundreds of names of Granby veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the war in Afghanistan.

Among the many ceremonies and parades to mark Memorial Day this weekend and on Monday, the town’s veterans groups will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Granby Veterans Memorial Park. The showcase of the park — built on an elevated site off State Street — is a stone wall monument decorated with plaques engraved with hundreds of names of Granby veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the war in Afghanistan. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 05-23-2024 4:09 PM

Modified: 05-23-2024 4:31 PM


The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a federal holiday originally called Decoration Day that was formalized in 1868 and serves as the nation’s foremost annual day to honor its deceased service men and women.

A bevy of parades and commemorative ceremonies are taking place throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties this weekend as a way to mark the day.

Belchertown

On Sunday at 11 a.m. the Belchertown Veterans Council will hold traditional memorial services at Quabbin Park Cemetery, 557 Belchertown Road in Ware. At the event, the Betty Allen Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution will honor Revolutionary War patriots interred at the cemetery as part of a nationwide commemorative celebration as the country approaches the 250th anniversary of America’s founding. Special markers commemorating the anniversary will be placed.

Also on Sunday at 5 p.m., the Veterans Council will formally dedicate a bridge on Route 9 in honor of Army Specialist Kenneth J. Iwasinski, who was killed in action in Iraq on Oct. 14, 2007. The bridge is located between the towns of Belchertown and Ware. Attending the dedication will be state Sens. Jacob Oliveira and Peter J. Durant and state Reps. Aaron Saunders and Todd Smola. The ceremony will take place at the Quabbin Visitor Center, 100 Winsor Dam Road in Belchertown.

On Monday, a salute to the veterans interred at South Cemetery will take place from 8:30 a.m. The Belchertown Memorial Day Parade will then kick off at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall and will conclude at the Town Common, followed by a ceremony.

Hadley

A series of memorial events at town cemeteries will be held on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. The annual Memorial Day parade, put on by the Hadley American Legion Post 271 at 162 Russell St., will commence at 2 p.m.

The parade, which begins at the Legion and ends on the West Street Common near the General Hooker Monument, will feature pedestrian participants including legionnaires, ceremony officials, public officials, fire and police departments, Girl and Boy Scouts and a band, and vehicles including antique cars, floats, farm vehicles and trucks.

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After the parade, all participants and spectators are invited back to the Legion for refreshments.

More information is available at hadleyparade.com.

Granby

On Sunday, the Granby Veterans Memorial Committee, The Friends of Granby Veterans and Graby American Legion Post 266 will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Granby Veterans Memorial Park.

The ceremony will take place a noon at 257 State St. Limited parking will be available at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church across the street at 256 State St.

The showcase of the park — built on an elevated site — is a stone wall monument decorated with plaques engraved with hundreds of names of Granby veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the war in Afghanistan.

Other features in the park include a tank donated from Fort Devens and a flower garden.

On Sunday, the town’s annual Memorial Day parade hosted by the American Legion will take place beginning at 9 a.m. Participants asked to stage at the IHM church parking lot for the parade to Veterans Memorial Boulder at the old library, where a service will take place and include music by the Granby Band. More ceremonies will take place along the parade route at the West Street and Batchelor Street cemeteries.

Southampton

Monday’s ceremonies in Southampton start at the William E. Norris School at 9 a.m. and parades to Center Cemetery for a ceremony to honor fallen veterans in the community. After the ceremony, the parade proceeds down College Highway to Town Hall for another ceremony. There will be speeches and children will put out flowers on graves. The American Legion has also arraigned for business vehicles and antique cars to take part in the parade.

Easthampton

The Easthampton Memorial Day parade, postponed last year due to road construction, returns this year and begins at 10:30 a.m. at Clark Street. The parade weaves through several streets before concluding at the Veteran War Memorials next to the Emily Williston Library, where a traditional ceremony will take place.

The ceremony will include the laying of wreaths by volunteers affiliated with local veterans and veterans support organizations, music by the Easthampton High School band and the presentation of three Medals of Liberty to family members and representatives for the Korean War veterans whose lives were lost while serving the country. Brigadier General Mark Kalin, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, will present the medals.

Westhampton

Westhampton will mark Memorial Day on Monday with a parade and ceremony that begins at 11 a.m. Those marching will assemble at 10:45 a.m. on South Road in front of the Veterans Memorial, with children carrying bouquets to be placed on graves of veterans.

The event will start with a flag-raising in front of the memorial led by Cub Scout Pack 209 and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” led by Julie Holt. The parade will march to the cemetery. A ceremony will follow at the cemetery, featuring keynote speaker John Shaw. The event will also include readings of the State Declaration and the Gettysburg Address.

Following the ceremony, a luncheon presented by Westhampton Congregational United Church of Christ Church, 1 Tob Hill Road, around noontime will be available for $7 per person, followed by town softball game t 1 p.m.

Amherst

In Amherst, a parade steps off Monday at 9 a.m. from the Town Common to the War Memorial Pool, where a ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m.

The ceremony will include presentation of the Medal of Liberty, Massachusetts’ highest honor, to the family of fallen veteran Felix Stanne.

Hatfield

Hatfield’s American Legion Auxiliary will hold a parade on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. from the American Legion to Town Hall. A ceremony and speaker will follow.

After the events, the Legion will hold a barbecue at the Lions Pavilion. Tickets are $15 for adults.

Holyoke

Holyoke’s Patriotic Events Committee will host a Memorial Day observance on Monday at 10 a.m.

The observance will be held in the War Memorial Building, 310 Appleton St. The keynote speaker will be retired Sgt. Brendan Quinn of Holyoke.

From 8 to 10 a.m., before the formal ceremonies begin, American Legion Post 351 will host a breakfast at the post, 50 St. Kolbe Drive. After the ceremonies, Legion Post 325 at 22 Sycamore St., will host a lunch starting at noon.

Northampton

Procession for the Florence Memorial Day Parade on Monday begins at Trinity Row Park at 10 a.m. The parade ends at Park Street Cemetery, where an 11 a.m. ceremony will take place.

The ceremony will feature issuing the Medal of Liberty to the families of the following men killed in action: Edwin Malinsowki, Thomas Gustowski, Kenneth Johnson and Michael Curtin.

Organized by the Veterans Council of Northampton and Central Hampshire Veterans Services, the event will mark the 156th consecutive Memorial Day parade in Northampton.

Williamsburg

Williamsburg will hold its Memorial Day parade and ceremony Monday, with parade participants assembling at the fire station beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. heading west on North Main Street to Buttonshop Road, to Route 9 east, to Veterans’ Memorial Park.

The ceremony will include presentation of the Medal of Liberty, Massachusetts’ highest honor, to the families of two fallen veterans, Chester Jon Kmit and John J. Moynahan.

Parade participants include American Legion Post 236 and Auxiliary, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Cub Scout Pack 209, Williamsburg Select Board, Highland Ambulance and the Williamsburg police and fire departments.

South Hadley

Memorial Day events in South Hadley begin Friday night with a B-24 ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of a tragic air crash that occurred on the South Hadley side of Mount Holyoke, in what today Skinner State Park. In late May 1944, a Westover-based air crew training for combat overseas crashed while on a training mission, and all 10 service members of the U.S. Army-Air Force on board were killed.

The ceremony to remember the crash, sponsored by the South Hadley American Legion and Friends of the Holyoke Mountain Range, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the B-24 Memorial located next to the Summit House at Skinner State Park, 10 Skinner State Park Road in Hadley.

On Monday, ceremonies begin at 8 a.m. at the Civil War Monument on the town common, with a similar ceremony at the Town Hall Monuments at 9 a.m.

At the town common, there will be a reading of General John Logan’s 1868 order proclaiming Memorial Day, reading of the Gettysburg Address and reading of the names and placement of flags for the 21 South Hadley Civil War fallen.

At Town Hall, there will be a reading of President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1942 Flag Day Prayer, a reading of South Hadley’s fallen from World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam and a placement of a flag for each.

Events are sponsored by the South Hadley American Legion Post 260.

Hilltowns

Memorial Day ceremonies led by Cummington American Legion Post 304 will take place at the following times and locations. All are invited to attend.

■Worthington, 8:30 a.m., at the memorial across from Town Hall

■West Cummington Cemetery, 9 a.m.

■Cummington, 9:30 a.m., at the memorial at Community House

■Goshen, 10 a.m., at the Goshen Cemetery on Mollison Hill Road

■Chesterfield, 11 a.m., at Veterans’ Park

■Plainfield, 1 p.m., at Hilltop Cemetery.

Deerfield

The town’s annual Memorial Day ceremony will be held on the South Deerfield Common on Monday, May 27, at 8:45 a.m, with a parade starting at Frontier Regional School at 8:30 a.m. The presentation of the memorial wreath will be presented by Capt. Steven Debryn-Kops and Gold Star mother Kathleen Belanger. Deerfield Elementary School students Conner Sheldon and Elliana DiNardo will read the Gettysburg Address. Following the program, the public is invited to join the Color Guard and Hale Clapp Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3295 in honoring military members in South Deerfield’s cemeteries. In the case of rain, the ceremony will be held in Frontier’s auditorium.

Sunderland

The town’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial outside Town Hall, 12 School St. From there, the parade will travel down South Main Street to Riverside Cemetery, where more ceremonies will take place. The parade is expected to return to the center of town around 7:15 p.m.

Whately

The town’s Memorial Day events, organized by the Whately Grange, will begin Sunday with a parade at 11:15 a.m. at First Congregational Church that will proceed to the nearby cemetery before returning to the war memorial outside Town Hall. The Frontier Regional School band will provide marching music and the VFW will lead the parade. The Whately Grange will also be honoring one of the town’s oldest veterans with the National Grange Patrios Award. Dusti Dufresne will provide a medley of military songs, while Grange President Ruht Leahey will serve as the program’s speaker.

Following the ceremony, the Whately Historical Society is hosting a spring festival until 2 p.m. The Historical Society’s museum exhibitions will be on display with food and drinks available from Tom’s Long Hot Dogs. Snow’s Dairy has donated ice cream for the program.