Memorial Day 2023: Laying Flags for Veterans at Fairview and St. Catherine's Cemeteries, Sat. May 20 starting at 7:30am
All volunteers are welcome to join Westford's veterans from the local American Legion posts as they begin laying flags on the graves of our veterans on Saturday, May 20. They start at St. Catherine's Cemetery (20 Pine Ridge Road, Westford) at approximately 7:30am before moving to Fairview Cemetery (corner of Tadmuck Road and Main Street). Veterans bring the flags and then people walk the cemetery, looking for the flag holders with the veteran medallion next to the grave to place them. Thank you in advance for your participation and for supporting our vets!
Candlelit Tour of Westlawn Cemetery, April 19, 2023
Join us while the sun sets for our Patriots Day (April 19th) Candlelight Tribute at Westlawn Cemetery. In this unique self-guided stroll, you can access the service records of Westford’s Revolutionary War Patriots on your phone or tablet. There will be colonial interpreters to answer your questions stationed throughout the illuminated cemetery.
This triangular burial place at the fork of Concord and Country roads was originally on land belonging to Deacon Joshua Fletcher, one of the town’s original 89 taxpayers. His daughter married Samuel Parker, who inherited it when the Deacon died in 1736. Parker sold the land to Nathan Proctor (1698-1788), who donated what was then called West Burying Ground to the town. When Westford assumed care of West cemetery in 1761, many of its founding citizens had been interred here.
The most distinguished citizen buried here is Colonel John Robinson (1735-1805) Westford’s highest ranking Revolutionary War officer, who has the largest slate marker in the cemetery. Robinson was also a town selectman who led three companies of Westford Minutemen to the North Bridge in Concord on the morning of April 19, 1775, where his men engaged the British regulars and fired “the shot heard ‘round the world.” Colonel Robinson also fought alongside many of these men at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he comported himself with courage and honor. West Burying Ground was nearly named after Colonel Robinson in 1895, but residents instead chose the name Westlawn. The town did rename the road where he had lived less than a mile away, and the school on that road, in his honor.
Colonel Robinson joins with 15 other Revolutionary War veterans, many of whom served with him, whose graves are marked by iron Maltese crosses placed by the Sons of the American Revolution in 1902.
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA, 2022
Westford once again will be participating in the Wreaths Across America event beginning at NOON on Saturday, December 17 at Pine Grove Cemetery. An "opening event" will feature tribute speeches, veterans representing each branch of the service placing memorial wreaths, and a honor guard. All volunteers who attend (families, residents, Scouts, veterans) will then disperse throughout Pine Grove to lay wreaths, and are welcome to travel to the other cemeteries in town, where bundles of wreaths will be waiting to be placed.
At the same time, volunteers are asked to remove the American flags that were placed on our veterans' gravesites on Memorial Day (which will serve as aids to locate a veteran's grave for a wreath) and return them to a central location for the Cemetery Department. The flags will be properly destroyed with dignity at an annual event organized by the American Legions and the Boy Scouts, typically around Flag Day (June).
The public is absolutely welcome to come to this event and lay wreaths on the gravesites of our veterans! We want to thank Robin Pawlowski, who volunteers to organize this entire event and the donation of wreaths for all our veterans.
CEREMONY TO HONOR CAPTAIN JOSEPH READ, PARTICIPANT IN THE BOSTON TEA PARTY (Fairview Cemetery, October 15, 1pm)
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum (306 Congress Street, Boston MA) is hoping to honor the participants of the Boston Tea Party by placing a special medallion at their gravesites in time for the 250th anniversary of the famous event in American history. On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty and their supporters protested "taxation without representation" by boarding a ship at Griffin's Wharf and dumping 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor (about 45 tons, worth over one million dollars today). The event was considered the first major act of defiance to British rule and it inspired and rallied the 13 colonies in the fight for American independence.
One of the men on board that night has been verified as Captain Joseph Read (1716-1795), who is buried at Fairview Cemetery. Captain Read, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was a member of the Massachusetts Third Provincial Congress, was one of the oldest (at 57) of the known Tea Party participants. The Westford Cemetery Department, the Veterans Services Department, the Westford Historical Society & Museum, the Westford Minutemen are pleased to see Captain Read receive his due acknowledgment and honor.
Please join us for a ceremony to place Captain Read's medallion on October 15, 2022 at 1pm in the Old West Division at Fairview Cemetery (close to the middle entrance). We thank the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum for making this happen.
MEMORIAL DAY, 2022
This year we can gladly welcome back the tradition of laying American flags on the graves of our honored veterans. On May 21 veterans from American Legion Post 159 invite volunteers and Scouts to help lay flags beginning at St. Catherine's Cemetery at 7:30 am before moving on to Fairview Cemetery. Please meet the veterans at the site, and while masks are no longer required please try to spread out and stay safe. Pandemic is not over yet!
Should you notice a torn flag or a veterans grave that is missing a flag between May-Dec, please contact the Cemetery Dept or the Veterans Services department. This year flags will remain on graves until the Wreaths Across America event in December, when they are removed to avoid damage from the winter elements.
PATRIOT'S DAY CANDLELIT TOUR OF FAIRVIEW CEMETERY: REVOLUTIONARY WAR HEROES
On Tuesday, April 19, 2022 from 6:30-8pm the Westford Historical Society & Museum will be hosting a candlelit tour of the Old West Division with Westford Minuteman Dan Lacroix as your guide. Please see the historical society webpage at https://museum.westford.org/events/patriots-day-candlelight-tribute-fairview-cemetery/ for details; meet at the Tadmuck Road entrance to Fairview Cemetery. Event Donation $5 per person/$10 per family. Rain date: Saturday April 23, 2022 @6:30pm