Saturday May 25, 2013

LENOX -- U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, whose district includes a large swath of Western Massachusetts, will participate in the annual Memorial Day Parade in Lenox -- his only public appearance on Monday.

The First District Democrat will be introduced by state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, at the noontime ceremony on Main Street. State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing also is scheduled to speak.

Neal has been a family friend for 25 years, Pignatelli said.

"I’ve got to give credit to my father," he added, noting that the elder Pignatelli was the one who approached Neal on the day after Neal’s election victory last November and asked him to attend.

John J. Pignatelli retired from key positions in town and county government in 1993 after more than three decades of service.

The parade and ceremony at the war monument in the center of town will honor the Coakley and Muchnick families as a tribute to Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, who was among the eight U.S. Marines killed when a mortar shell exploded during training exercises in Nevada on March 18.

More than 1,000 mourners attended the funeral at St. Ann’s Church in Lenox on March 29. The fallen Marine was the grandson of longtime residents Robert and Mary Ann Coakley and had been a frequent visitor to the town.

The Memorial Day event is organized by Sean Ward, commander of the Lenox VFW Post 12079.


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Veterans, the Lenox police and fire departments and units of the Lee Fire Department will participate, as well as local schoolchildren, Ward said. He asked that any veterans wishing to march gather at the Church on the Hill at the top of Main Street prior to the parade, which steps off at noon.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@yahoo.com or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto