Mattapoisett celebrates the service of slain warriors, known and unknown
MATTAPOISETT — Veterans, their families, lawmakers, Selectmen, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and their families gathered to celebrate Memorial Day on May 27 with a ceremonial procession between Center School, the the memorials at the library and Town Wharf.
Commander Michael Lamoureaux served as the master of ceremonies for the event. In his opening remarks he focused on thanking participants for supporting those who served, particularly in light of a veterans memorial that was defaced in Dorchester.
“Thank you. I’m sorry I have never said it as often as I will in this brief speech. It is a terrific morale-booster to us veterans. We know that it is a sacrifice to be here,” Lamoureaux said.
Some of the town’s younger residents, Caitlin Collier and Sakurako Linh Huynh-Aoyama participated in the ceremony by reading Governor Baker’s Memorial Day Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. The Old Hammondtown School Band also provided patriotic songs, with their rendition of “Grand Old Flag” prompting Lamoureaux to call them “absolutely fantastic.”
In his address, Selectman Tyler Macallister focused on two veterans he knew personally, his grandfathers, recounting memories of hunting, golfing and Thanksgivings together. He said that they “not only served, but had a role in my life,” and focused on “keeping their memory alive long after we have said goodbye.”
In contrast, William Strauss used his address as State Representative to urge listeners to “keep our memories alive, not just for acquaintances, family members or friends who have served, but to people we have no direct connection to.” He asked that they “reach just a little bit farther.”
Tri-town Veterans Agent Barry Denham used his brief remark to celebrate the diversity and the similarities in Memorial Day services across the nation.
In his principal address, Fairhaven resident Eric Dawicki acknowledged the non-uniformed service members that also lost their lives and pointed out that veterans, and particularly Massachusetts veterans feel the need to fight and lay down their lives in support of the powerful ideals in the founding documents of the United States.
Dawicki said that he has been able to travel to 80 countries for his work, and often finds himself paying homage to veterans there. When he does that “I am overwhelmed with emotion. They perished in a place that became better because of their sacrifices,” Dawicki said.
Though Memorial Day is primarily to honor those who died in combat, Dawicki also urged communities to take care of their living veterans, particularly those returning from recent wars, because “the tolls have never been greater than today.”
On their parade, participants stopped at the Florence Eastman, World War II and Civil War Monuments at the library to lay flowers. Former service members also honored those who had died at sea, by tossing a wreath into the harbor at Town Wharf.