Tuesday, May 24th at six in the evening, Lynn held their Memorial Day Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at City Hall, hosted by James DePhilippo and attended by veterans, their families, and supporters.
A large American flag draped the back of the stage as Reverend Alphonse Ferreira said a prayer; the Jr. ROTC Marine Corps from the Lynn English High School presented the Colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the President of the Lynn Veterans’ Council, George Fitzhenry, followed by a fantastic performance of the National Anthem by the Lynn Public School Band.
DePhilippo welcomed Gayle Bastarache to the stage for her beautiful rendition of ‘God Bless America’ which got the crowd singing along. As Guest Speakers came to the stage, including a visit from the Mayor, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, They all spoke in their own ways about what Memorial Day means to them, and touching on the origins of Memorial Day, dating back to 1867 after the Civil War and new meanings today.
Although all the speakers had similar wishes and thank-you’s to families of veterans, they all shared different stories. Whether it be from their own memories of times in battle, or sharing memories with those they love who have fallen.
While the Marine Corps Jr. ROTC folded a flag, James DePhilippo described what each of the 13 folds mean. The flag was folded in the honor of a soldier from Lynn who died on December 16th 2006.
Shortly after, the ROTC preformed a few of its award winning drills. Both men and women teams marched on stage and preformed some of their best choreographed moves that they taught themselves.
As the High School Band performed “Medley of Service Songs”, veterans stood as they heard their own service’s song as applause surrounded them in recognition for their sacrifices.
As the ceremony came to an end, the story of how the song “Taps” became a burial song for fallen soldiers was told by high school band member Kara Dukasse. As she finished the story, Dick Perry played the song and the eerie tune struck heart strings in the audience, remembering fallen friends and family. The echo of the song was performed by Marcel Vasquez. A moment of silence was followed, and broken by the song, “Amazing Grace”, again sung by Gayle Bastarache.
By the end of the ceremony, veterans of all services gathered and remembered stories with each other, and their fallen friends. They laugh and joke about good times past and still to come.
Memorial Day is an important time for not just veterans, but all Americans. In this time of war, more and more men and women are coming back as Veterans. They need to be acknowledged for their courage and their service and they need to be remembered just as those from Vietnam, the Gulf, and the World Wars have been. We all owe them gratitude for their sacrifice.
This ceremony was the first to start a weekend of events.
On Thursday May 26th at six in the evening, the Decorating of Graves will take place at the Pine Grove Cemetery, starting at the World War I section.
On Monday the 30th, there will be a Mass Honoring Fallen Veterans at the Sacred Heart Church at nine in the morning. At ten, the Polish Legion of American Veterans (PLAV) Memorial Day Service will occur at Breed Square, and the Memorial Day Parade will form at 12:30pm at North Shore Community College. Its route will take them through Washington Street, Broad Street, Market Street, City Hall Square, North Common Street, Park Street, Boston Street and come to an end in front of the Pine Grove Cemetery at approximately 1:30pm.