When it came time to read the names of recently departed veterans, those standing by the granite posts, called bell masters by Hunt, would strike them loudly twice depending on what branch of the service the veteran served.
Hunt said the posts and bells were installed about two weeks ago from a generous donation by the family of Richard Banks, the longtime Newburyport resident who worked at General Electric for more than 30 years. Each post represents a wing of the country’s armed forces, Air Force, Marines, Navy, National Guard, Army and Coast Guard. The bells will be stored inside Holaday’s office and brought out during major community events, including Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Afterward, the parade continued down Green Street, Merrimac Street and up State Street past the CVS parking lot on Pond Street, where parade participants had mustered earlier. The parade made its way to Veterans Cemetery where Holaday placed a wreath by the cemetery’s flag pole. The playing of taps by the Newburyport High School marching band was followed by a rifle salute by members of the Newburyport Police Department’s honor guard. Following the end of the ceremony, local Brownies replaced old American flags waving beside each of the veterans laid to rest inside one of New England’s oldest veterans cemetery.
The parade and accompanying ceremonies marked the centerpiece of the city’s weekend schedule of Veterans Day events.
Saturday, the Elks Lodge on Low Street was the venue for a free breakfast for veterans. The following day, Civil War enthusiasts Bill and Liz Hallett conducted a 90-minute “Footsteps of Heroes: Civil War Walking Tour of Newburyport.” Following yesterday’s parade, Michael’s Harborside hosted an invitation-only meal for Newburyport veterans and one guest. The annual event is sponsored and paid for by Michael’s Harborside to honor Newburyport veterans.