NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the Veterans Memorial following the annual parade on Sunday to honor troops of past and present and celebrate Armistice Day.
Prior to the parade, the first-ever 'Up Front for DeMar' race and walk drew over 200 participants. For more photos of the parade, click here.
"On this Veterans Day we give thanks to the millions of Americans who have and continue to strengthen our nation with their example of service and sacrifice," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "Our veterans are drawn from many generations and many backrounds. Some marched on battlefields, some fought on the seas, some patrolled the skies. However, all contributed to the character and greatness of the United States."
The parade began around 10:45 a.m. at American Legion Post 125 and continued down the drive, east on Main Street and north on Eagle Street toward the Veterans Memorial. A police cruiser led the parade, which included local veteran groups, American Legion Riders, the Drury High School band, and others.
At the memorial, American Legion Post 125 Cmdr. Dennis St. Pierre led the ceremonies, which featured keynote speaker Larry Connors, former Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department Commander for the American Legion.
American Legion Post 125 Cmdr. Dennis St. Pierre led the ceremony.
"Today we celebrate the veterans, living and for those who have left our ranks," Connor said. "And let them know, that they, while we mourn our losses, we truly celebrate Veterans Day."
Although much of the day revolved around celebration, it was impossible to ignore sacrifices.
Prior to the parade, the first-ever "Up Front for DeMar" race was held, which drew over 200 participants. The race raised money for a scholarship in the name of the late 20-year-old Army Spc. Michael DeMarsico II, who died while serving in Afghanistan in August
"I spoke with Mike's mom and dad a few weeks ago...[they said], 'Just as Michael was going to serve his country he had told us he joined the service because he loved his hometown so much, he wanted to do all he could to protect it.'"
The mayor also thanked the local Elks Lodge for maintaining the park and replacing the flags annually.
After the ceremony's introduction, John LeClair, the 2012 Boys State participant from American Legion Post 125, led the Pledge of Allegiance. In between talks, the Drury Band performed the Star-Spangled Banner and the Armed Forces Medley.