Springfield's wreath ceremony commemorates Memorial Day weekend
Veterans and their family members gathered outside City Hall in Springfield Friday for the annual wreath laying ceremony marking Memorial Day.
A stream of sunlight broke through the clouds for veterans and Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno to lay wreaths on Veterans Way across from City Hall.
Thomas Belton, a former U.S. Marine who served in the Vietnam War, said he is proud to represent veterans of color.
"I got my Purple Heart almost 28 years after the event, and minorities didn't always get the same metal representation as their white counterparts. We were always last to the table, last to get fed. And it's still like that today," Belton said.
Memorial Day specifically honors those who died in the U.S. military service, but the holiday was originally created to honor soldiers who fought in the Civil War. It was later expanded to include those who died in all wars.
The annual tradition of decorating fallen soldiers' graves with flags and flowers still continues today including here in Springfield.
Memorial Day Commemorations Planned
The Memorial Day holiday will be marked by parades and ceremonies throughout the long weekend.
Hadley, Massachusetts, will hold a parade Sunday afternoon. On Monday, several western Massachusetts communities will hold parades including: Agawam, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Ludlow, Northampton, North Adams, Pittsfield and Westfield.