By Aaron Keebaugh
Through the combined efforts of the city of Revere and the Revere CARES Coalition, the Revere Beach Memorial, now in its sixth year, is an annual community-wide event. Last Sunday night a few hundred people gathered around the William G. Reinstein bandstand on Revere Beach to remember loved ones who lost their lives due to drug abuse.
The memorial service came near the end of September— “Recovery Month” — which the city council, joining other cities around the country, set aside in a proclamation at the August 27 council meeting.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, students from Revere public schools, aided by Revere High School’s “Power of NO” organization, embarked on a “Community Walk for Recovery.” From its origins in Beachmont, walkers traversed the city, led by Mayor Dan Rizzo. Just before the vigil service began, he led the students along the sidewalk on Revere Beach Blvd. to applause from people in the area.
Cadets from the Revere High School JROTC program lined the sidewalk as students, city residents, and visitors strolled past.
Addressing the crowd, Kim Hanton said that the Recovery Walk is “a testament that Revere is aware.” She continued: “We are all here for different reasons this evening, some to show that they are above the influence, others to remember those that are sorely missed.”
As more than 200 names were read during the vigil, people holding lit candles stood in silence. Some also held white carnation flowers.
Firefighters from the Revere fire department rang the bell in remembrance of the deceased as Maryann Picariello, Julia Newhall, and Gary Langis read the names.
Retired Chelsea Fire Department Chief Joe Siewko played “Amazing Grace” and the hymn “Going Home” on his bagpipes.
Carianne Salemme offered an inspirational reading entitled “In the next room.”
JoAnn Rivieccio, who lost her son to a drug overdose last November, read a poem to the solemn hearts in attendance, “The Fallen Addict,” which depicted demise from drug addiction from the addict’s point of view. “It was my fight with the addiction and it simply won… Just know that in your hearts, I didn’t die alone,” read the poem.