Every year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, somber ceremonies take place across American dedicated to American Veterans of all wars, living and deceased, who have served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The day was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918. An armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiegne, France but the shelling did not cease until nightfall. A formal peace agreement was only reached the following June with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 upon the urging of many veterans organizations.
The Town of Marlborough held their ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in front of the Middle School, opening with Jack Lynn (a Purple Heart recipient) and John Gallagher laying a wreath before the inscribed stone walls containing the names of service men and women from Marlborough who have served their country. The Pledge of Allegiance followed.
Veteran Tom Schroeder read greetings from the Commander of the U.S.S. Roosevelt: in part, “The USS Roosevelt commenced its first patrol in the European and African operating area immediately following the home port shift from Mayport, Florida, to Rota, Spain. We traveled above the Arctic Circle, through the Mediterranean, and into the Black Sea to conduct combined exercises with our NATO Allies in Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Iceland, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine...In these uncertain times, the leadership and crew continue to relentlessly pursue the knowledge and training necessary to preserve freedom and democracy around the world. We promise to continue in service as the “Arsenal of Democracy.” As we look to future challenges, whatever form they may take, we draw strength from the men and women of past conflicts. Today, and always, we are grateful for their service and sacrifice.”
Marlborough Supervisor Al Lanzetta described an article he read, entitled, “45 Ways to Honor Our Veterans,” starting with attending a Veterans Day event and to properly and respectfully display the American Flag.
“After all, it represents a lot of sacrifice on the part of so many. We don’t treat is as a decoration but as a symbol of freedom and democracy,” he said.
Lanzetta urged everyone to thank a Veteran when they meet; “I don’t think they ever get tired of being appreciated.” He noted that many Veterans are “of an age” and suggested when visiting to wear a mask and keep the proper social distancing during the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Remember they were willing to do what it takes to defend our way of life and we should be willing to do what is necessary to preserve their lives; actions speak louder than words,” he said. “Whether waving a flag or reminding a Veteran that we appreciate their service, nothing will honor them more than wearing a mask and showing them the respect that they deserve.”
Vietnam Veteran Joe Freeborn spoke about a gathering that honored Marlborough resident Lance Cpl. William J. Partington, who was killed in Quang Nam Province in South Vietnam on March 2, 1970. Freeborn said many friends attended, “to celebrate a life that was cut way too short. We had a wonderful program for Billy and I think of him always. We served in the same area of operation and I’m pretty sure I know where his life ended. I was glad as a community that we were able to come together to commemorate him; it was a very special day.”
Schroeder said, “It is important to remember that Veterans are defending us 365 days a year. The heroism that has been demonstrated time and again by Veterans from the American Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism is sometimes unnoticed by those of us who enjoy the security that their sacrifice has provided.”
“The American Legion shows its support for America’s heroes through its Family Support Network, Legacy Scholarship Fund, Operation Comfort Warriors, Temporary Financial Assistance and the National Emergency Fund, just to name a few of our programs. Veterans don’t ask for much. They do not want to be in a “special class,” but benefits are a mere drop in the bucket compared to the financial and human cost of war. And while not all Veterans see war, all who served in the military have expressed a willingness to fight if called to. You can show your support for these great men and women by hiring a Veteran in your workplace, visiting a VA hospital or donating to a Veterans program. Veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them. We must appreciate them. God bless you all for being here, God bless our Veterans and God bless America.”
The playing of Taps concluded the Veterans Day ceremony.