Despite rain, area celebrates Memorial Day

NASHUA – Umbrellas were as much a part of Nashua’s Memorial Day observances this morning as were the ceremonial rifles and the bugle on which veteran Barney Barbera played Taps.

Several towns in Greater Nashua also held events and ceremonies to mark the annual holiday, which got its start in the Civil War era as Decoration Day.

In Nashua, veterans representing the James E. Coffey Post 3, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 483, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Post 7 were joined by about a dozen members of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), which includes Nashua High School North and South students.

The group began its succession of ceremonies in Foster Square, next to the statue and monument honoring General John G. Foster, the Civil War officer from Nashua.

As they did at each of the four locations, VFW member Steve Ibanez and Vietnam veteran Roger Matthews, a Coffey Post member, placed a ceremonial wreath at the base of the monument then stood back and saluted as VFW members fired the rifle salute.

Past VFW Commander Steve Ordway, protected by an umbrella, led the group in prayer. Vietnam veteran Barney Barbera, the chairman of the Mayors Veterans Council, concluded each of the ceremonies with a rendition of Taps.

From Foster Square, the contingent formed a caravan down Lock Street and onto Atherton Avenue, for the next ceremony at Gilbert “Lefty” Dumais Field at Atherton Park.

The field, where Dumais, who lived nearby on Lock Street and was a standout player on the Ward 3 entry in the Ward Leagues, was dedicated to Dumais a number of years ago.

A 1949 Nashua High graduate, Dumais was just 18 when he was killed in action in Korea, several months after he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent overseas.

He is believed to be the first Nashuan killed in action in the Korean War.

The other ceremonies took place at the memorial site at Woodlawn Cemetery, Kinsley Street; and Constitution Plaza, corner of Main Street and Medical Center Drive, opposite Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.