Rochester remembers fallen heroes

May 28, 2023

ROCHESTER — Rochester residents gathered in front of town hall on Sunday, May 28 to celebrate Memorial Day. 

After the church bells played the National Anthem, town officials, the Rochester Memorial School Band, the Rochester Fire Department and Boy Scout Troop 31 marched to  Daggett Square. 

Members of the Select Board took turns reading the names of all Rochester veterans, from World War I to the present in front of the Rochester Honor Roll Memorial.

“Any time we can recognize our veterans and what they have done for this country is an important event,” said Select Board member Brad Morse.

The Rochester Memorial School band played a number of patriotic tunes including “Grand Old Flag” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

Boy scout Noah Bellefeuille gave the annual reading of the Gettysburg Address while scout Blake Gagne read the governor’s proclamation.

When the parade returned to Town Hall, the names of those who served in Civil War, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm were also read out. Although memorial honors those who died while serving the names of veterans who returned were also mentioned. 

Bristol Representative William Straus (D-Mattapoisett) gave his words of remembrance at the end of the reading. 

“In this town the Memorial Day ceremony is as powerful as any that occurs because the reading of the names from the conflicts and wars is a powerful statement that we all can reflect on,” said Straus. 

Representative Straus also encouraged the audience to specifically reflect on the lives lost in the Civil War. 

“We have to appreciate that at that time to leave Rochester and to head to states in other parts of the country was the equivalent today of heading anywhere else in far remote corners of the world,” he said. “What those Civil War veterans did for this idea of the country is something that I hope everyone will reflect on.”

According to Tri-Town Veterans Service Officer Chris Gerrior, this year the parade had the “best turn out since Covid.” 

“This is to remember the people who did not come home,” said Gerrior.