Memorial Day – looking back

This past weekend I attended the Memorial Day Services hosted by the Greater Lowell Veteran’s Council on Saturday. Events begin at the Ladd and Whitney Monument in front of City Hall where each of the member groups of the Veteran’s Council step forward and read the names of their members who have died since last Memorial Day. After that roll call, a rifle salute is fired and taps is played. Once that phase of the program is complete, everyone adjourns and reforms at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium (there used to be a procession from City Hall to the Auditorium, but that was dispensed with about a decade ago).

If the weather cooperates, the Auditorium portion of the program takes place on the building’s front steps. This year, with clouds and rainy mist, things were moved inside to the Hall of Flags. Speakers included State Senator Eileen Donoghue, State Representative Tom Golden, and Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy. After the speaking program was completed, everyone moved outside to place wreaths on the various monuments in front of the Auditorium, to conduct the “water ceremony” in which flowers are tossed into the adjoining Concord River to remember those lost at sea, then taps and another rifle salute. Once the formal program is complete, the Veteran’s Council generously provides a luncheon for all who attend.

Most of those who come to this Memorial Day ceremony are veterans, their families and their strongest supporters but everyone is welcome. When next Memorial Day rolls around, please consider attending this ceremony. It’s a couple of hours well-spent, it’s an appropriate way to acknowledge Memorial Day, and it provides a vivid connection to our city’s past.