Memorial Day as a Catalyst for Placemaking, Historical Learning, and Acts of Kindness

Memorial Day as a Catalyst for Placemaking, Historical Learning, and Acts of Kindness

For some, Memorial Day is a deeply personal holiday, a day for remembering those who have served the people of our country. Participating in these Memorial Day celebrations and ceremonies can also be a form of placemaking, strengthening ties to community spaces and encouraging social interaction between generations. These events also offer a chance to personally thank local veterans and recognize them for their bravery and service.

Ceremonies to honor veterans on this holiday often take place in outdoor, common spaces such as Main Streets, sidewalks, and town commons.

As friends, neighbors, and community members gather in these areas, opportunities for small acts of kindness arise. For example, families can bring a bouquet of daisies or loaves of fresh baked bread to a Memorial Day parade to share with veterans as small tokens of gratitude.

Memorial day parades thus invite people to engage with their communities in placemaking. Participating in parades by marching alongside an organization or viewing the parade from a common space thus supports individual health and well-being by strengthening a connection to place.

This day of remembrance is also a chance to learn about history from a local perspective. For example, the Quabbin Park Cemetery Memorial Day parade and service on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 9:30am is an opportunity to learn about the history of soldiers who were removed from their original resting places in order to build the Quabbin Reservoir. You can participate by marching behind the Pelham Historical Society banner. For more information and to sign up contact Cynthia Weigel, 413-256-4606. Meet at the Pelham Museum (376 Amherst Road Pelham) at 9:30am to carpool or go directly to the Quabbin Park Cemetery at 11:00am for the service. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Other Memorial Day events include:

AMHERST: Monday, May 30, 9:30am. Amherst Memorial Day parade begins at the North Common. Parade, speaker, gun salute and raising of colors. School band and chorus too! Amherst, MA (FREE)

AGAWAM: Monday, May 30, 12noon-3pm Memorial Day Parade in the morning, then the Agawam Historical & Fire House Museum in the afternoon, supporting your interest in local history! 251 North West Street in Feeding Hills. Agawam, MA (FREE)

ATHOL: Monday, May 30, 10:30am. This community rallies to make their Memorial Day Parade “Bigger & Better!” Join neighbors for the Athol Memorial Day parade and delight the Veterans with your participation and acts of kindness! Athol, MA (FREE)

CHICOPEE: Monday, May 30, 10am. Chicopee Memorial Day parade steps-off at the American Legion Post 452 and heads down Front Street to Veterans Plaza. Chicopee, MA (FREE)

EASTHAMPTON. Monday, May 30, 10:30am. Stepping off at the Easthampton Community Center (Clark Street) the parade marches down towards the library. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

FLORENCE: Monday, May 30, 10am. Stepping off in Florence at Trinity Row, this parade has live music, youth sport teams, and of course, honored veterans! Wonderful intergenerational celebration that supports community and placemaking! Heads down towards the cemetery on Park Street. Great day to check out a self-guided walking tour of Florence while discovering local history! Florence, MA (FREE)

GREAT BARRINGTON: Monday, May 30, 11am. Great Barrington Memorial Day parade begins at the corner of Cottage &  Main Streets and end at the  Town Hall. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

GREENFIELD. Monday, May 30, 9:30am. Greenfield Memorial Day parade begins at the Greenfield Middle School stepping off at 10am, heading towards Greenfield Veterans Plaza. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

HADLEY: Sunday, May 29, 2pm. Hadley Park and Rec will host a Memorial Day Parade with floats. Starting at Senior Center Field and head down towards the town common. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy time together with your family before the parade begins! Ride your bikes in via the bike trail and follow along on two wheels! 413-586-6375. Hadley, MA (FREE)

HOLYOKE: Monday, May 30 12pm-4pm. The Holyoke Merry Go Round will be open on Memorial Day, offering free rides for veterans. Take a ride with your family and teach your children about the sacrifice which soldiers past and present have made for their country. 413-538-9838. Holyoke Heritage State Park. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$. Veterans ride FREE)

HOUSATONIC: Monday, May 30, 9am. Housatonic Memorial Day parade begins at the fire station and end at the cemetery on VanDeusenville Road . Housatonic, MA (FREE)

PLAINFIELD: Monday, May 30, 12pm. A town rich in history, join the Plainfield Historical Society for their annual Memorial Day Ham and Bean Dinner and famous Pie Auction at noon at the Plainfield Town Hall, followed by our Memorial Day Parade at 1pm. Plainfield, MA

PITTSFIELD: Monday, May 30, 9am. Hosted by the Berkshire Veterans Coalition, Pittsfield Memorial Day Parade will consist of a parade departing from City Hall and ending at the Pittsfield Cemetery. The day’s event also includes high school marching bands, scout troupes, color & honor guards, city officials and an intergenerational audience! 413-443-5133. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

STOCKBRIDGE: Monday, May 30, 11am-2pm. Stockbridge Memorial Day parade host a cemetery ceremonies, parade, memorial program, and a community potluck picnic. Day begins at 11am at the Town Hall and ends on the Town Green with a town picnic around 1pm. 413-644-3590. Stockbridge, MA (FREE)

WESTFIELD: Monday, May 30, 10am. The Westfield Memorial Day Parade begins at Stanley Park Drive and ends at Elizabeth Parker Memorial Park, where ceremonies will take place. Community members around Westfield are encouraged to attend and honor the sacrifices veterans have made. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

WILLIAMSBURG: Monday, May 30, 1pm. The Williamsburg Memorial Day parade begins at the Williamsburg Fire Station and marches to the Veteran’s Memorial Park. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) The U.S. Army ]

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