The annual Memorial Day Ceremonies, concluding with the largest Memorial Day parade in the region, are set for Sunday, May 26. Sponsored by American Legion Post #19 in conjunction with the Somerville Allied Veterans’ Council, scheduled events will begin at 8 a.m. at American Legion Post #19, 124 Highland Ave., with a short procession down Highland Ave. to the Central Library and the placing of wreaths on monuments along Central Hill Park. The parade will step off from the City Hall/Somerville High School concourse at 1 p.m., and will proceed for 2.3 miles down Highland Ave. to the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Teele Square. The parade will conclude in Veterans Memorial Cemetery with a ceremony of remembrance for fallen Somerville veterans under the supervision of the Somerville Allied Veterans Council.
The parade will include 17 marching bands, including the 215th Massachusetts Army National Guard Marching Band, along with a wide range of community and school groups, the popular specialty units of the Aleppo Shriners, and representatives from the Miss New England beauty pageant, as well as representatives of local veterans’, fire, and police units from surrounding cities and towns.
Beginning at Somerville High School, the parade will continue along Highland Avenue, through Davis Square to Holland Street, and onto Broadway before ending at the Cemetery in Teele Square. Ceremonies will be held rain or shine.
This year, the city will present two Grand Marshals: James F. Legee, Jr., and John M. O’Leary. James enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1944. He fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and led the Allied advance under General George S. Patton. He earned three battle stars for conflicts in the Ardennes, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. Other awards and honors include the World War II War Service Medal by the nation of Belgium, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon. He was honorably discharged in January 1946. Following his service with the U.S. Army, James worked as a building inspector with the City of Somerville for 18 years.
John O’Leary joined the U.S. Army in January 1946. He served in Japan with the 1st Cavalry Division as part of the Allied Occupation Force. He was one of the few American Soldiers to cross the equator by sea during his military service, earning him membership in “Davy Jones’s Locker,” a fraternity usually open only to U.S. Navy personnel. His awards and honors include the World War II Victory Medal. John was discharged as a Technician, Fifth Grade, in April 1947. Since then, he has served the City of Somerville as a senior custodian in the Building Department for 29 years, and as a Library Trustee under Mayor Thomas August. Additionally, John served as Commander of American Legion Post 447 and AMVETS, and served as the City’s Veterans’ Liaison to the Mayor since 1990.
To accommodate the parade, the following streets will have parking restrictions from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and street closures beginning at approximately 9:30 a.m.
- Highland Ave. (Walnut St. to School St.)
- Prescott St. (Summer St. to Highland Ave.)
- Putnam St. (Summer St. to Highland Ave.)
- Vinal Ave. (Summer St. to Highland Ave.)
- School St. (Medford St. to Highland Ave.)
- Walnut St. (Medford St. to Highland Ave.)
- College Ave. (Morrison Ave. to Davis Sq.)
- North St. (Powderhouse Blvd. to Broadway)
- Alewife Brook Parkway (to Dilboy)
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., there will also be no parking on either side of the following streets (and in front of the Somerville Veterans Cemetery from North St. to Route 16). These restrictions will be lifted immediately following the parade:
- Highland Ave. (Walnut St. to Davis Sq.)
- Holland St. (Davis Sq to Teele Sq.)
- Broadway (Holland St. to Route 16)
- Dilboy Field
- Little Sisters of the Poor – 186 Highland Ave.
Please note that the Number 88 MBTA bus route to and from Clarendon Hill will not be running from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.