DeMarsico Funeral Route, Services Announced
The motorcade for Michael DeMarsico moves through North Adams on the way to the funeral home on Wednesday. On Saturday morning, the funeral procession will move along West Main Street to First Baptist Church.
A number of dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral, including the Berkshire delegation and congressional representatives. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray will attend the wake on Friday; Gov. Deval Patrick has made a point of attending the funerals of the state's military casualties.
Mayor Richard Alcombright responded to social media reports of a possible protest at the funeral by saying the city and military are prepared for any such event.
"We have discussed with the family possible threat of protest," he said Thursday afternoon. "We've been planning this for 10 days, from the event that happened yesterday through the funeral on Saturday."
A hate group known to protest military funerals has claimed it would preach its message "in respectful, lawful proximity" to the funeral service. A law signed by President Obama on Aug. 7 limits such protests to 300 feet from the funeral and bans them for two hours before and after.
While the group, mostly the same extended family, has frequently announced protests its members appear to have traveled to Massachusetts only a few times in recent years and has been far outnumbered by counterprotesters.
A counter group quickly formed on Facebook to plan defensive action, but the mayor has asked that residents focus on the DeMarsico family, not protesters.
"I am asking that all people refrain from any activity other than the continued outpouring of prayers, support and encouragement for Michael and his family," he said in a statement. "Please trust that the family and all officials handling services have taken painstaking efforts to ensure that Michael will be properly honored throughout this entire process."
Meeting with Army and public safety officials on Thursday afternoon, the mayor said "the family feels that we've got everything covered."
Instead, he encouraged residents to to line the streets for the funeral procession as they had on Wednesday, and to wear as much blue as possible to honor DeMarsico. "Our collective efforts need totally focus on our DeMarsico family," he said.
The funeral procession, including a horse-drawn caisson carrying DeMarsico's casket, will leave Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, West Chapels, and move east on West Main Street to Main Street and around Monument Square to First Baptist Church.
Funeral services are expected to begin at 11 a.m. Those expecting to attend should note the church doors will open at 10 a.m. and that capacity is capped at 725. An overflow area is being set up in the chapel with audio equipment and flat screen televisions provided by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Audio of the service, being conducted by the Rev. David Anderson, will also be broadcast outside the church.
Monument Square will be blocked off before and during the service. After the service, the funeral procession, again with caisson, will take the wrong way down Eagle Street and stop briefly at the Veterans Memorial on Center Street.
It will then move west in the eastbound lane of Route 2, to Holden Street, to American Legion Drive, to Ashland Street and to Southview Cemetery.
Only the immediate family and select individuals will be in the procession; all others who wish to attend will be directed to go straight to Southview Cemetery.
There will be a public reception immediately following the services at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center on St. Anthony Drive.
The wake will be held on Friday from 2 to 7 at the funeral home. Extra parking will be available at Avon Street, just west of the funeral home.
Motorists should be prepared for detours and delays around the funeral home on Friday and along the funeral routes on Saturday.
iBerkshires is planning a livestream of the funeral procession on Main Street for those unable to attend.
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