Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Reflections

I am writing to share the many experiences that I had the honor of participating in over this past Memorial Day Weekend. In a time of uncertainty it was quite ensuring to see the many veterans who served this great Country and Commonwealth continue their service by setting up numerous memorial services to make sure that their friends, neighbors and family for whom they went to war with and did not return with are never forgotten.

It all started on Friday morning with numerous assemblies at our local schools. I applaud both staff and students of the Ipswich, Hamilton/Wenham and Masconomet School Districts who came together to remember those fallen soldiers who gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day. The student speeches and memories were all inspirational. The districts bands did a fabulous job of remembering each and every member of all the branches of or armed forces.

The many services did not stop on Friday; Sunday morning I visited the veterans, sons of the legion and citizens of Hamilton at the Hamilton Legion where we honored our fallen soldiers with a breakfast. There we heard from the Chair of the Board of Selectmen as well as other dignitaries. It was very touching and set the mood for what would follow on Monday.

Could the Lord above have given us a better day for honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I would argue no. The skies were bright with sunshine and not a cloud in the sky could be seen for miles. My first parade started in Hamilton at the Town Hall with many veterans, organizations and townspeople lined up to honor those who have not only served but who for those Hamilton residents who did not return from conflict. Over in Ipswich a similar scenario was happening. It started on top of Town Hill in downtown Ipswich and the parade weaved itself through the inner downtown area stopping at numerous monuments honoring those heroes who did not return home. It ended at the Ipswich VFW where a brief ceremony was held. As per tradition, beans and franks were served to those who participated in the day’s events. My last parade of the day ended in the Town of Wenham where Route 1A was closed so that the citizens could honor our fallen soldiers who resided in Wenham. Again, touching ceremonies at each of the following locations: The downtown monument in front of the First Church, the Cemetery and finally in front of the Public Safety Complex. What pleased me the most was the participation from the many towns’ people who took time out of their busy schedules to come and remember those who served this great country and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and me.

The following was a speech I gave at the Ipswich Middle School and Ipswich VFW:

Good Morning. I want to begin my remarks by thanking all of our soldiers, airmen, Marines and Seamen serving today- whether they be modern day heroes serving in Iraq, peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan, or our own hometown reservists and National Guardsmen, providing Homeland Security here in the Commonwealth and across this great land of ours in Operation Enduring Freedom. Furthermore, I want to thank our Veterans. To you, I want to extend my sincerest greeting on this day for the sacrifices that you have made for this great country during a previous time in this country's great history.

Memorial Day is a very important holiday in the United States. Every year since 1868, the people of the United States have taken time at the end of May to recognize Memorial Day. As you should all know, Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who gave their lives defending our great country and who continue to fight for America's freedom today. After all, freedom is the cornerstone that separates the United States from the rest of the world. These service men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of each and every one of us so that we can live freely as part of this great nation. We owe them our deepest respect and gratitude for ensuring our way of life. That is why on Monday, the people of this nation will join together in honoring the memories of these distinguished men and women who truly are American heroes. But let's not wait another year to honor these fallen heroes. I would suggest to you that daily we must dedicate a moment to stop and remember those brave men and women for their sacrifice that allows us Americans the precious gifts of freedom and liberty that we enjoy every day.

Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have. Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have

Today’s color Alert---RED WHITE and BLUE---In memory of those who have sacrificed their lives for you and me

The real American Idol’s are spread across the lands of America and other countries

In closing, I ask that you please remember those who gave their lives during war and in peacetime to protect all of us and the wonderful Constitutional freedoms that we enjoy, including the freedom to gather here today.

May God bless you and God bless the United States of America!