Tewksbury's Heroes Remembered In Memorial Day Ceremony
May 26, 2014 11:45PM
By Bill Gilman
Members of the VFW Post 8164 Honor Guard.
They did their duty with honor and pride.
How best then to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service to their country?
According to those who spoke at Monday's Memorial Day Ceremony at the Tewksbury Cemetery, the best way to honor the memory of those who died is to ensure that those veterans who made it home are given the care and dignity they deserve.
Speakers, who included Congressman John Tierney (6th District), state Rep, Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington, state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover and Todd Johnson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, touched on subjects such as the VA scandal and medical care for veterans, low pay for men and women in the armed services, jobs for returning vets and housing for homeless veterans. But it was the ceremony's keynote speaker, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Voto, a 25-year Air Force veteran, who put the issue in perspective.
"Our responsibility and commitment to our veterans should not end when the last rally is over," said Voto, a Tewksbury native. "Veterans deserve better than that. The defenders of this nation fulfilled their duty and obligation to us, and we have an equal duty and honor to fulfill our obligation to them.
"Protecting America's ideals and values should entitle them a chance to achieve the 'American Dream,' one that includes employment, education and a home. They deserve not only our gratitude but also to be treated with dignity and with respect, as well. Haven't they earned it? To do anything less is to betray the sacrifice and the memory of our fallen."
Monday's ceremony featured music from the Tewksbury High School/Middle School Band ("The National Anthem," "Taps") and Arlene Wright and the Swinging Seniors ("God Bless America," "My Country 'Tis of Thee.").
Representatives of the VFW, DAV, American Legion and Korean War Veterans participated in the ceremonial laying of baskets of flowers in memory of those killed while serving from the Revolutionary War, all the way through the Afghan War and the Global War on Terror.
Paul McNaught, commander of American Legion Post 259, served as master of ceremonies for the event, with Post Adj. Chaplain Larry Sanford providing the opening prayer.
Local Boys and Girls Scouts led the Pledge of Allegience and Tewksbury High student Courtney Graffeo recited "In Flanders Fields."
The American Legion Post 8164 Honor Guard presented the 21-gun salute to honor the dead.
Combined Tewksbury High/Wynn Middle School Band perform the National Anthem.
Tewksbury Scouts lead Pledge of Allegiance on Memorial Day.
Arlene Wright and the Tewksbury Swinging Seniors perform "My Country Tis of Thee."
Arlene Wright and the Tewksbury Swinging Seniors perform "God Bless America" on Memorial Day.
A portion of the keynote speech given by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Voto, a Tewksbury native, at the 2014 Tewksbury Memorial Day Ceremony.