Burlington will celebrate Memorial Day weekend in a special way this year as the town will come together to recognize the service and sacrifice of Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, a former resident of the town who died during the war in Iraq.
The bridge on Cambridge Street that crosses I-95 will be renamed in his honor.
MacDonald died on June 25, 2003, in Hilla, Iraq at the age of 29. While another Marine unit was under ambush, MacDonald’s light armored vehicle raced to assist when the vehicle flipped, killing MacDonald and injuring two other Marines. MacDonald remains the only service member from Burlington to be killed following 9/11.
State Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) will host a rededication ceremony at the Town Common on Sunday, May 26, at 1 p.m. He will be joined by MacDonald’s family members including his parents, Arthur and Diana.
Gordon welcomes all local veterans and other community members to gather for the event, to show support for the family and recognize its sacrifice.
“Dedicating the bridge on Cambridge Street is just one small way that we can show that Burlington will never forget the courage and sacrifice of our veterans.” Gordon said. “I look forward to sharing this moment with the MacDonald family and the Burlington community. I hope that many can join us to honor Greg and his service to our country.”
MacDonald graduated from Burlington High School and studied philosophy and social policy at Belmont University before moving to Washington, D.C., where he earned a master’s degree in Philosophy and Near East Policy from American University in 2001. In 1999, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. As a member of Bravo Company 4th Reconnaissance Battalion at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, MacDonald was activated in February 2003.
He joined the Marine Corps to help bring peace to the Middle East.
“Greg wanted to work on foreign policy,” Arthur MacDonald said. “That’s why he joined the Marine Corps; he saw it as an avenue to start a career in diplomacy. He even taught himself Farsi so that he could better communicate with the people in Iraq. In one of his last letters home, he wrote that he wanted to return to Iraq, but next time in an air-conditioned building.”
State Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) carried the bill through the Senate after it was passed by the House. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law in November.
“Coming together as a community for this bridge dedication is the perfect way for us to commemorate Memorial Day,” Friedman said. “The Cambridge Street bridge will serve as a constant reminder of Greg’s unwavering service and dedication to our country that the Town of Burlington will always honor and cherish.”
Seating will be available to the public. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to Burlington High School’s Fogelberg Auditorium.