FRAMINGHAM – It was a small crowd of Veterans, Framingham Police, Framingham Veterans Council members, elected officials and the public who gathered early this morning to visit the six cemeteries in Framingham to honor fallen Veterans on Memorial Day.
This was not an official City of Framingham event, but one organized by Framingham Veterans, the Framingham Elks and the Rousseau family for years.
The City of Framingham for the second consecutive year cancelled its annual Memorial Day services, so the only real marking of the holiday, formerly known as Dedication Day, was this cemetery tour.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Memorial Day becoming an official federal holiday. It was established as a federal holiday in 1971, but Dedication Day dates back to just after the Civil War.
Standing in front of the Old Burying Ground cemetery in the middle of Main Street, with Framingham Police and Veterans saluting, Framingham Elks Chaplain Anspach spoke of Peter Salem, a freed slave who joined the military and took part in the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775. Later, he participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill, where it is believed he killed British Major John Pitcairn with his last shot.
The cemetery tour started at the Memorial Building and made its first stop to St. Tarcisius, formerly known as South Cemetery built in 1824.
The next stop was the Old Burying Ground cemetery established in 1698, two years before Framingham became a Town in 1700.
The third stop was Edgell Grove Cemetery, a 58-acre site building in 1848.
The fourth visit was to St. Stephen’s Cemetery, followed by St. George Cemetery and Edwards Cemetery.
Led by a police escort, among the attendees were Framingham Veterans Council members Eric Finn, Jerry Blanchette, and Bill Blumsack. Also in attendance were Framingham Police Chief Lester Baker, Deputy Police Chief Sean Riley, Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Framingham City Councilor Michael Cannon, and Framingham Youth Council Chair Isabella Petroni.
At each cemetery Anspach spoke, followed by a guns salute, and the playing of the National Anthem.
Petroni Media Company photos for SOURCE