Letter: A Veterans Day Thank You
A letter to the editor from Robert Hogan and Betty McDonough from the office of Burlington Veteran Affairs.
The Burlington Office of Veterans Services wishes to thank you and everyone for joining us for this year’s Veterans Day ceremonies which took place on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in commemoration of and in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War and the 30th anniversary of the dedication of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, on Veterans Day 1982.
We were very pleased with the number of guests that joined us on the Town Common and with the visitors we had at the presentation of “Items Left at the Wall.” On display were items from when the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Memorial spent eight days on the Town Common in 1999. These were a few of the many items that were lovingly and personally left at the Moving Wall during its visit in July of that year and were on display for the very first time.
Thanks go out to: Steve Duke and Bernie Heath for the sound system, Patti Robichaud, Pia Lisa, Jim McDonough, Steve Doyle and Andy Weiner of Dunkin Donuts for the coffee and refreshments, and set up, Bob Rottenberg of Longs Jewelers for the use of three glass cases to use for our display in the Human Services Building, the Vietnam veterans who participated in the program and all veterans in attendance, the Marine Corps League, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars for all their help.
Also to thank are: the Police Department and Police Honor Guard, the Fire Department and Fire Honor Guard, the American Legion Rifle Squad, and the Hanscom AFB Civil Air Patrol, and the Burlington High School Marching Band.
The BHS Drum line performed for us, and members of the BHS Flag Squad assisted the Vietnam veterans in unfurling a very large U.S. Flag. The wind gusts were a factor in not trying to raise the flag, but Vietnam veterans unfurled the 15 foot x 25 foot U.S. Flag, and other Vietnam veterans raised the Vietnam Service Flag.
Our new State Representative-elect Ken Gordon was on hand, as was State Senator Ken Donnelly, and Selectmen Mike Runyan and Dan Grattan. Our new Town Administrator John Petrin was on hand for his first Burlington Veterans Day, and our guest speaker was Chaplain (retired Colonel USA) and Vietnam veteran Bill Mark, of the E.N. Rogers VA Hospital in Bedford. Our Chaplain was Reverend Francesco Passamonte, Major, USAF Retired.
A tradition that is growing yearly is the attendance of all the scouts that join us. We thank them, and our guest speakers all seem to make it a point to acknowledge the scouts and remember their own time as a scout. And the parents and scout leaders deserve a special thank you for making this all happen.
Richard “Red” Hogan assisted with the ringing of bells. We rang the bells three different times in the program: seven times for the seven men who died in Vietnam, 13 times, for the 13 years that combat action took place, and 11 times for the traditional acknowledgement of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the Armistice was signed ending World War – 1.
Sue Stewart from Burlington Florist was responsible for providing the wreaths, Doug Gillingham and his Recreation maintenance staff helped make the town common so presentable, and we thank BCAT for recording the day for those who could not join us and still want to enjoy the activities.
Military vehicles at veterans events always adds a nice touch, and we thank Jim Doherty for the use of his ¾ ton truck, and Marc Pattaciola and David Cascomiss for their jeeps. Mike Trudeau as always is someone we count on to help in various ways, and we thank him for always saying yes.
And a special thanks to Sgt. Tim Kirchner of the Burlington Police Department and his son Tyler Kirchner, who two days before Veterans Day, on November 9, graduated from Parris Island Basic Training is now a United States Marine. Marine Kirchner joined us on the town common on Veterans Day along with his proud father.
And to all who joined us that day, thank you for being there as we honor and remember our veterans, who served in peace and in war, here and abroad, in peaceful places and dangerous locations.
Burlington Veterans Services