A Tribute to Their GloryBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, November 11, 2006
North Adams - An American flag flew and fluttered in the sunshine over the Veterans Memorial Park and Honor Roll as over 200 people gathered this morning for a Veterans' Day program that honored past and present wartime veterans.
|Veterans Memorial Park in North Adams|
Burden Of Worry
Keynote speaker U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael P. Hynes, a city native, delivered passionate remarks that honored veterans and put a spotlight on the sacrifices made by military families.
"We honor veterans but it is only right that we thank the families and honor their sacrifices," Hynes said.
Families "may not carry a rifle but they carry the burden of worry," he said.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael P. Hynes and eight-year-old Kyla Kaczowski at a Veterans' Day ceremony. Kyla presented Hynes with a hand-drawn American flag to show her appreciation for military veterans.
Hynes told those assembled he was honored to have been invited to speak.
"We've defended America when our borders, our people, our very way of life, was threatened," he said. "All over this nation toady, Americans are gathered together to pay tribute to our veterans."
Veterans are "ordinary people placed in extraordinary situations," Hynes said
Died For An Idea
"The veterans serving today have answered the call and put their boots on the ground," he said. "These common men and women have done and will continue to do uncommon things."
Hynes recalled the first call to duty came on a Lexington, Mass. April morning in 1775.
"Those first Colonial American soldiers who died in Lexington for an idea," Hynes said. "That idea is central to all that we do and all that we are."
The jobs tackled by military troops have changed over the decades, Hynes said. Troops have battled on foreign soil and served as protectors on home ground during the days of school desegregation and other civil rights actions. Currently, troops in Iraq perform extraordinary services to the Iraqi people.
"They are building roads, they are building schools and hospitals, they are providing water and electricity in Iraq," Hynes said.
"Veterans know the true meaning of courage," he said."This gathering is to honor the American veteran. It is a tribute to their glory. [Because of veterans] this is still the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Many of those gathered clutched American flags; 8-year-old Kyla Kaczowski of Adams hand-drew and colored an American flag which she presented to Hynes following the formal program.
When asked why she created the flag for Hynes, Kyla said "I'm thankful for my country and my freedom."
Kyla's mom Danielle Kaczowski said that Kyla came up with the idea on her own. Kyla's grandfather Robert Kaczowski is a Vietnam veteran and her great-grandfather Joseph Cote served during World War II, Danielle Kaczowksi said.
The family attends Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies on a regular basis, she said.
American flags were displayed by many of those who attended the ceremony.
"We come every year and now I see that good that's come of it," she said. "Kyla decided to do this on her own."
Hynes has served the military for 25 years. Hynes served during desert Storm. He is currently stationed at Fort Detrick in Maryland. He is a 1977 Drury High School graduate. His parents Richard and Mary Lou Hynes live in the city; his father served in the U.S. Marine Corp.
Hynes extensive military career includes an ROTC scholarship to Campbell University, two masters degrees earned at the University of Phoenix and the Marine Corps University, numerous duty stations and awards that include the Bronze Star Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and is authorized to wear the Parachutist and Army Staff Identification badges.
Hynes is married to Cheryl Hynes and has two children, an eight-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. He is the battalion commander of the 114th Signal Battalion.
"I'm proud of him," said Mary Lou Hynes, and added that she believes that veterans Day is a day to be revered.
"I believe that those in the Armed Forces should be honored on their day," she said. "People are serving their country and families are sacrificing their sons and daughters."
Richard Hynes agreed that Veterans Day should be respected as a "comemoration of the veterans."
Mayor John Barrett III told those at the ceremony that several years ago, as the plans for the Center Street Honor Roll and park were being developed, he agreed to allow extra, blank spaces for additional veteran names, although he hoped that there would be no need for the space.
"War Is Awful"
The Iraqi conflict means that the extra space will be needed, Barrett said. He told the crowd that he spends Sunday mornings watching television news programs so that he can learn how many lives the current war is claiming. Troops of all ages are losing their lives and each loss is a loss to family, community, and country, and must be counted, Barrett said.
"War is awful," he said, and noted the anguish of the families whose loved ones are killed because of the war.
"This isn't about whether we support a war or don't support a war," he said. "It's about supporting our troops."
Mayor John Barrett III spoke during the ceremony.
Barrett thanked all those who have served and continue to serve the nation and he asked those in attendance to be aware of the war's death toll.
"Look for the names of those who have been killed in war in pursuit of our liberty and happiness," Barrett said.
Over 25 Million Veterans Alive Today
Dennis St. Pierre served as the master of ceremonies. St. Pierre is a past commander of the Frank R. Stiles American Legion Post 125.
During his remarks, he read the oath of military service and noted that there are over 25 million American military veterans alive today.
"Those who have had the honor to speak these words and take this oath belong to a special patriotic group," he said.
Dennis St. Pierre at the Veterans' Day ceremony podium, prior to the placing of the wreath.
A Veteran's Day parade stepped off from the American Legion Post 125 post home at 10:30.
Participants included members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 996, AmVets Post 100, Sons of American Legion Post 125, the Hoosac Valley Vietnam Veterans Chapter 54, the American Legion Post 125 Ladies Auxiliary, VFW Post 996 Ladies Auxiliary, members of the U.S. Army National Guard BSTB Engineering Detachment of Pittsfield, members of the Drury High School marching band and marching band band front contingent, the North Adams Police department, the North Adams Fire Department, Barrett, and City Councilors Marie Harpin, Gailanne Cariddi and Christopher Tremblay.
Susan Bush may be reached at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.