ADAMS, Mass. — A caravan of Legionnaires and veterans from posts throughout the county made its way up a foggy Mount Greylock early Sunday morning.
For American Legion Post 160, this was at least its 85th pilgrimage to the summit to lay a wreath at the War Memorial for fallen comrades.
"When someone passes families hold a celebration of life. Our fallen comrades are family, therefore, Memorial Day is our celebration of life," Dennis St. Pierre, guest speaker and past commander of Berkshire County District 1 and North Adams American Legion Post 125 said. "We know firsthand these stories, these losses. Our charge is to keep making this accent not just today but every day.
St. Pierre thanked members for attending the ceremony at the "top of Massachusetts" and paused on the military history of the mountain itself.
"This beacon shines bright over all of our fallen comrades, brothers and sisters, moms and dads, dear friends and more," he said. "A place where the famed 10th Mountain Division once trained ... They trained on our Thunderbolt Ski Trail where now there is a new generation of skiers ... most of whom are children of war veterans, protect and maintain our mountain."
St. Pierre went through the history of Memorial Day and said since its inception after the Civil War many more have bravely sacrificed in the name of freedom.
"The line between oppression and freedom is drawn by the graves of our fallen comrades. Those who left native shores to the unknown waters of war leaving fanfare and familiarity for the rounds of gunfire and the fog of bombs," he said. "Those back home saw the conflict from afar ... while others stormed into the shadow of war undoubtedly afraid and aware of what was being asked of them but never hesitating."
St. Pierre spoke directly to his fellow veterans and asked them to take a moment to remember fallen comrades not only as soldiers but as friends and in many cases family.
"Remember their heroics that have impacted lives stretching from east to west from the north to the south. Examples of what it takes to keep the American flame from going out," he said. "But do not forget the man. Do not forget the woman. Celebrate their lives because these memories and stories are not just part of our military history but part of the foundation of the American spirit and the heart of our great nation."
After a ceremony and firing squad, a memorial wreath was set in the rotunda of the tower, originally built on the state's highest peak as a memorial to Massachusetts servicemen killed in World War I. Breakfast was then served at the Bascom Lodge.
Earlier in the morning during the drive up the mountain, the group stopped near a small waterfall to share in a toast to all passed veterans.
During the break, Post 160 historian John Bordeau said the Adams American Legion has always been involved with the Veterans War Memorial Tower. The 93-foot granite tower topped by a beacon was built between 1931 and 1932 and dedicated in 1933.
As early as the summer of 1932, the Adams post wanted to be involved because it was in Adams, he said. "They decided they wanted to be involved with ceremonies at the tower a year before it was even dedicated ... as soon as they turned the light on we had a little ceremony in town."
Past commander Don Sommer agreed and said post 160, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, was pivotal in the first reconstruction of the monument.
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Liz Mitchell and state Rep. John Barrett III at Tuesday's 2019 Unsung Heroine ceremony at the State House.
BOSTON — Three Berkshires women were named Unsung Heroines for 2019 during a State House ceremony on Tuesday.
State Sen. Adam G. Hinds nominated Donna Cesan for this recognition because of her dedication to community, having served as Community Development Director and interim Town Administrator for the town of Adams for 19 years.
Elizabeth "Liz" Mitchell, a North Adams resident and advocate for domestic violance victims with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, was nominated by state Rep. John Barrett III and Marie Richardson of Pittsfield, a caseworker in the Pittsfield Public Schools, was nominated by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.
"Donna has selflessly given countless hours of her time to ensure Adams is moving in the right direction," said Hinds. "She is well-respected in her hometown of Lanesborough, and the town of Adams is well-served by her. She is absolutely an Unsung Heroine for her dedication to our region and her professionalism, which is effortlessly showcased in all of her projects."
Massachusetts Commission of the Status of Women annually celebrates "unsung heroines" who don't always make the news, but who make a difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.
Hinds said Cesan has dedicated her career to public service. As the director of community development, she has spearheaded economic development projects with big impact, like the construction of a platform for the Adams terminus of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's Hoosac Valley Service, the renovation of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot and implementing the community's vision for the Greylock Glen. Since 2014, she has been asked twice by the Board of Selectmen to also serve as interim town administrator, managing every aspect of municipal government for months, while also promoting community development initiatives in town.
State Sen. Adam G. Hinds nominated Donna Cesan for this recognition because of her dedication to community, having served as Community Development Director and interim Town Administrator for the town of Adams for 19 years. click for more
Christian Womble tossed a complete-game with 10 strikeouts and scored the first run, and Anton Lazits had a solo home run to lead Taconic to a 5-1 win over Wahconah in the Western Mass Division 3 championship at UMass on Saturday. click for more