PEPPERELL (CBS) – Rain may have canceled many Memorial Day parades across Massachusetts on Monday, but that didn’t stop one group of local veterans.

In Pepperell, a handful of service members braved the inclement weather and marched down Main Street anyway.

“Although we weren’t exactly prepared for it, we are very proud of our Pepperell veterans who decided to march the parade route this morning even though the parade was cancelled,” Pepperell police said.

National Guard Master Sergeant Eric Vogelsang said he and his wife put the word out about the unsanctioned march on Saturday evening after learning that the parade was canceled.

“I sent a couple of text messages to a friend, and I said ‘We’re not going to be stopped by the weather. We’re going to march no matter what,’” Vogelsang said.

A collection of veterans, some who knew of the plan and others who did not, gathered at the Pepperell VFW where their walk began.

“It means to take the time, to honor those who have done the ultimate. And, if you can’t do it on Memorial Day. I don’t know when you would do it,” Vietnam Veteran Bob Foss said.

Veterans march on a rainy Memorial Day in Pepperell (Photo credit Rebecca Szum)

Veterans march on a rainy Memorial Day in Pepperell (Photo credit Rebecca Szum)

Rebecca Szum was one of the residents who came out to see the inspiring display and sent a photo to WBZ-TV.

“It was very moving to watch and I’m proud to be from such a patriotic town as Pepperell,” she said.

Veteran Bob Connolly also marched to raise awareness of a monument he hopes will be built in honor of servicemen and women who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His organization, The Middlesex Global War on Terrorism, is trying to raise $100,000 for construction of the monument near the Pepperell rotary. For more information visit their Facebook page or

WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller contributed to this report.

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