Middleboro honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

May 27, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — Flags waved and tears trickled down cheeks as Middleboro residents paid their respects to those who gave their lives for their country during Middleboro’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 27. 

The town’s Memorial Day observance kicked off with a parade that started at Town Hall and proceeded through the town center at 10 a.m. Following the parade was a ceremony held at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, where the names of those who died in service were announced and memorialized with the toll of a bell. 

Those who were present carried with them the memory of those who couldn’t be. Tim Buttermore, a cub scout leader, came out with his children Tyler and Keely, who are also Cub Scouts. Buttermore, who lost an uncle in Vietnam, makes an effort to come out to participate in Memorial Day events every year with his kids, he said.

“There are a lot of people who can’t be here today. They’ve sacrificed. So it’s the least we can do,” he said.

Many at the ceremony were thinking about one serviceman in particular: Middleboro Police Lieutenant and military veteran AJ Lapanna, who passed away in 2023 of cancer. The parade and ceremony were conducted in his honor. 

For AJ's mother Trish Lapanna, who carried with her a cut-out of her son’s face, the day served as yet another reminder of how loved her son was by the Middleboro community. “I knew he was a great guy because he was my son, but for all of this to happen as a result of everything that he put into his life is just amazing to me… I am so honored to be honoring my son,” she said.  

A large crowd of Middleboro residents came out to honor the fallen, including all five of Middleboro’s Select Board members. Middleboro’s Town Manager Jay McGrail was also present, along with state representative Norman Orrall. 

Memorial Day “is about showing support for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, who fought for our freedoms and gave us what we have today. They fought for us, they gave their life,” said Select Board Chair Mark Germain. 

State representative Orrall made an appearance at the Middleboro, Lakeville and Taunton ceremonies this year and noted how “each town really holds [those who died in service] dearly. Each town has their people, that they know, that they grew up with and that they remember for years and years. For me, it’s important to try to go to each town to help them honor their fallen…”