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Dracut’s Reminder to ‘not Forget Our Veterans’

September 26, 2018

Edward Gendreau, of Derry, N.H., speaks about his late brother, Raymond J. Gendreau, on Friday during a dedication ceremony for a Veterans Memorial Square in Raymond's name on the corner of Broadway Road and Arlington Avenue in Dracut. Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

DRACUT -- A group gathered last Friday at the corner of Broadway Road and Arlington Avenue to celebrate a new Veterans Memorial Square in honor of the late Raymond J. Gendreau, a Dracut resident and Navy veteran who was aboard the USS Missouri during the Korean War.

As motorists drove past the busy intersection, Gendreau’s siblings and other relatives, as well as several town officials, stood still to remember Gendreau. Also in attendance was Joseph Mullen, a Lowell resident who worked to collect the documents necessary to bring the square to fruition for his late friend.

Gendreau died of heart failure on Feb. 27, hours before the Board of Selectmen unveiled a mock-up of his memorial square at a meeting. He was 88.

Outgoing Veterans Service Officer Lynette Gabrila served as host for last Friday’s dedication ceremony and introduced several speakers, including Gendreau’s brother, Edward Gendreau, Town Manager Jim Duggan and Selectman Tony Archinski.

“As we drive by this intersection, let this marker signify that America will not forget our veterans,” Archinski said. “At this place, at this memorial, we acknowledge a debt long-standing not only to Mr. Gendreau but to generations of American veterans.”

After the ceremony, Gendreau’s son-in-law, George Villemaire Sr., fought back tears.

“Fantastic,” the Hudson, N.H. resident said about the square. “He deserves it.”

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo. Her email address is acastillo@lowellsun.com .

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