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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed All

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, May 29, 2006

Mayor John Barrett III and Girl Scout Christa Sprague, 9, Nicholas Lillie, 7, Naomi Parsons, 5, and Brittany Lillie, 9. The flags were donated by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 125.
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In North Adams, a Memorial Day ceremony was held at the recently completed Veteran's Memorial Park for the first time, and in Williamstown, a past tradition of presenting blue-star banners to the families of active military members was resumed.

And in both communities, people remembered.

• Click Here for a Flash Video of the Drury High Band
• Click Here for a Flash Video of the Salute and Taps


North Adams

American Legion National Executive Committee member James Army marched during a North Adams parade and spoke during a formal ceremony. Army mingled with the military veterans, children, and community members who gathered at the Frank R. Stiles American Legion Post 125 post home and waited for the 9:30 a.m. march to step off.

"Today is special for all veterans," Army said. "It's a time to reflect on our service and on those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It's important to have the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts here. We have to pass this down through the families so that we always remember."


State Rep. Daniel Bosley and National Guard Staff Sgt. David Dunn
Army noted that groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and agendas that eliminate things like the Pledge of Allegiance from public school classrooms are eroding national history and national pride, as well as the meaning of days such as Memorial Day.

Army, who lives in Millbury, Mass. and is a member of the Dudley Gendron American legion Post 414 in Sutton, Mass., participated in a May 28 Lanesboro ceremony and was expected to travel to Hinsdale later May 29 to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony in that town.

"It is so heartening to see so many communities doing something [to honor the holiday]," Army said.

Frank R. Stiles American Legion Post 125 Commander Dennis St. Pierre said that he believes public schools should increase the time spent studying civics and American history.

Several elementary school aged youth who were participating in the parade were unable to explain the meaning of the holiday when asked by a reporter, and St.Pierre said that he was not surprised to hear about the lack of awareness.

"We have to start teaching this stuff to the kids," he said. "This day is when we honor all our fallen heroes, our comrades, who've died."

There seems to be an increase in the adult population who turn out for Memorial Day ceremonies over the past few years, St. Pierre said.

"It's not that surprising; we're in such turmoil around the world," he said.

World War II veteran and past American Legion District Commander Joseph Cariddi said that he has taken part in Memorial Day ceremonies for 53 years.

This year marked a first for Cariddi, he said, and explained that he planned to ride in a trolley-style bus during this year's parade instead of marching the parade route.

Age is simply catching up with him, he said.

"So this will be a little bit different for me," Cariddi said as he looked around a Post 125 room and sighed.

"We're [WWII veterans] dwindling in numbers here."

State Rep. Daniel Bosley D-North Adams said that people frequently consider the holiday from a history perspective and may reflect on those who died during past wars. The dying continues today, he noted.

James Army, American Legion National Executive Committee member


Bosley agreed that community participation is growing.

"It's so good to see a lot of people out here participating," Bosley said.

U.S. National Guard Staff Sgt. David Dunn marched along the American Legion Drive-Main Street-Eagle Street parade route as well.

"We have to remember why we're here, and that is to honor the people who have died," he said.

Speakers at the city's ceremony were Mayor John Barrett III, Army, and Berkshire County American Legion District 1 Commander Ronald Sage. St. Pierre was master of ceremonies.

Williamstown

In Williamstown, dozens of people formed clusters that lined Spring and Main streets as a Memorial Day parade wound its' way to Field Park for a ceremony.

Among the speakers was Peter White, a WWII veteran who served in France, Germany, and Japan. White's daughter Lucy White, 16 and a junior enrolled at the Mount Greylock Regional High School, attended the parade and the ceremony.


Lucy White:"Williamstown and the country should recognize this day."
"It's important that Williamstown and the country recognize this day," she said. "It's a day to give the sacrifices some real thought."

During his remarks, White noted that over 1 million military troops have died during wartime since the Revolutionary War. Lives have been sacrificed in the name of freedom, security, and the defense of the nation, he said.

"What we should do on this day is look into what the fallen have fallen for," White said.

White told the crowd that future generations must remember the actions of past generations.

"I hope that 200 years from now, people still gather here to honor our fallen," he said, and added that he also hopes that those present at that time have no war experiences in their memories.

"Let us hope we live to see a world where peace is the norm, not the exception," White said.

Blue Star banners were presented to Mary Kennedy and John George, whose son Damon George is currently serving in the United States Navy, and to Dawn and Richard Daniels, whose son William Daniels is currently serving in the U.S. Army.

Master of Ceremonies was Richard R. Ruether American Legion Post 152 Commander Gary Walsh. Walsh delivered a tribute to Everett "Bus" Hopkins Miller, a World War II veteran and civic leader who died in 2005.

World War II veteran Peter White


Town Veteran's Agent Michael Kennedy delivered remarks. Text of Kennedy's remarks are posted here

A Memorial Day parade and ceremony was held in Adams on May 29.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush @iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.

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