Larry Caprari presented a plaque to Veteran of the Year Joseph Mack. More photos from the parade and the ceremony can be found here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With temperatures in the teens Saturday morning, the city of Pittsfield honored veterans of all wars with a parade and ceremony.
At 10 a.m. marchers and vehicles left City Hall and proceeded down North Street, onto South Street, and concluded at the Veterans Memorial on South Street.
"From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan from Bastone to Baghdad, from Pork Chop Hill to the Persian Gulf, our veterans have borne the cost of these wars and continue to stand watch over America's peace," keynote speaker Arnie Perras said.
"Today is their day. Today is our day to stand a little bit taller and be recognized by a grateful nation who appreciates what the few have done for the many."
Paris said many Americans don't know the difference between the various military holidays. Memorial Day is for those who died, Independence Day is for the revolution, and Veterans Day is for the some 22 million people who served throughout the nation.
"Around the world veterans have broken the shackles of tyranny, unleashed the chains of bondage, and emancipated entire nations from oppression. Veterans have lifted the cloak of darkness, oppression and desperation and replaced it with an in extinguishable light that is the spirit of freedom and liberty," Perras said.
Paris called on Americans to support the veterans in every way possible. And, he said the crowd numbering near 100 shows that the support is there to do that.
City Council President Peter Marchetti said it isn't enough to just honor veterans on Veterans Day. He said they should be honored each and every day.
"We should not just honor them but remember the sacrifices each of the armed service members gave to us. When duty called, they leave behind their lives and families. The are prepared to do so without question to protect our great country and the freedoms we enjoy," Marchetti said.
Marchetti told the veterans in the audience that there is no better way to put it than "thank you, thank you, thank you."
The Berkshire Veterans Coalition had representatives lay wreaths in honor of each war. The Pittsfield High School band played patriotic music. The Dalton American Legion shot off a volley. Anthony Pastore gave a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.
And Joseph Mack, a Vietnam veteran who is now very active in veterans organizations, was honored as the Veteran of the Year.
Mack served in the Army with the 25th Infantry Division. He was awarded a silver star and a commendation medal. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 15, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 448, and the James E. Callahan Berkshire Chapter 65 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He chairs the poppy campaign, participates in flag burning ceremonies, parades, and sponsors visitations to veterans in nursing homes every Christmas. For 17 years, he has helped maintain and clean the Memorial Park and he drives veterans to and from Albany Airport for Honor Guard flights.
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