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The Charbonneau brothers of Adams were remembered on Memorial Day. Their nieces Mary Strout and Tammy McCarthy and nephew Thomas Ramsdell attended the ceremony.

Community Remembers the Fallen on Memorial Day

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ADAMS, Mass. — Brothers William and Earle Charbonneau joined the Navy together on Sept. 11, 1942, served together and died together when their ship was torpedoed off Italy 80 years ago this May. 
 
"Our mother was their youngest sister, she talked about them all the time because they were 19 and 20 and she was 18," said Tammy McCarthy. "She talked about them all the time. She said the shock of that happening turned her hair white overnight. She dyed her hair ever since then."
 
The brothers were remembered during Memorial Day services on Monday morning, held in the Memorial Building.
 
"These heroes left the comfort of their homes, their families and loved ones, their friends to serve a greater purpose to preserve American way of life," said master of ceremonies Frederick Lora. "Freedom is not free and each generation must answer freedom's call and its those who paid the ultimate sacrifice that we remember today."
 
The observances included prayers from Deacon Greg LaFreniere, the reading of the Gettysburg Address and of "In Flanders Fields" by Hoosac Valley High School students Talia Rehill and Addison Colvin, respectively. The Hoosac Valley band played the national anthem and Rachel Scarpitto and Corey Charron taps and echo. 
 
District Veterans Agent Mitchell Kiel said Memorial Day is a day to honor and celebrate those who lost their lives in service to the nation. But "after these somber reminders of the meaning of the day ... how are you supposed to celebrate?" he asked. 
 
"They fought for the freedom that allows us to celebrate," Kiel said. "Because our families honor and remember their family members."
 
He noted the case of Marine Erwin King, missing since Guadalcanal and whose parents made sure he had a plot beside them should his body be found. It was, 82 years later, he will be buried beside them in North Adams on Sept. 24. 
 
"If that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what it is."
 
The Charbonneaus are making sure their uncles aren't forgotten. They still have the brothers enlistment papers and their medals and the telegram announcing their loss. Thomas Ramsdell, McCarthy's brother, said they all remember the story of how one brother topside went down into the ship in search of his sibling, and both were lost. 
 
They were the children of Wilfred A. and Celia Fulde Charbonneau, who had another son in the Navy, Wilfred Jr., who would survive. 
 
"My grandmother and my mother and aunt all worked at Sprague Electric Co. at the time, and they got an all called to the office to be told," said McCarthy. "My grandmother passed straight out when they told her."
 
Wilfred Jr.'s daughter, Mary Strout, said, "think of Gram having three sons in the war, you see the movie 'Saving Private Ryan.' Think of how she felt that her two sons were lost. And yet one is still alive. ...
 
"And then my dad wondering why, why did I survive? Yeah. So those are things that I never asked. They never talked about but you can only imagine the pain she must have always had."
 
Strout said it was important to carry their legacy and their story so their children know it.
 
"I think my mom always instilled so much patriotism in us because of that. With our grandmother as well. We had the picture of the three boys together always on the wall," said McCarthy. 
 
 "I told my mother, I said 'we'll never let them be forgotten."
 
The threat of rain forced a number of Memorial Day observances inside on Monday, including in Adams, North Adams and Cheshire.
 
North Adams 
The North Adams ceremony was moved indoors to American Legion Post 125.
 

See more photos from the North Adams ceremony here
Keynote speaker retired Army Col. Michael Hynes said today Americans honor fallen soldiers who come from all walks of life to meet one cause.
 
"They shared several fundamental qualities. They possess courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty, and integrity. All the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than oneself," Hynes said. "Many of them didn't ask to leave their homes to fight in distant battlefields. Many didn't even volunteer … they were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. You were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways."
 
He said service members continue to heed the call and even as troops are lost, making the ultimate sacrifice, more Americans step forward. Per his research, nearly 630,000 men and women have made this ultimate sacrifice since the incorporation of North Adams in 1895. One hundred and forty-five of them were citizens of North Adams.
 
He then recalled some of these names including Peter W. Foote III, an Army sergeant who died in combat during the Vietnam War, and Army Spc. Michael R. DeMarsico II, who was killed in 2012 by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan.
 
"Throughout the country we gather to remember, to honor, and pay tribute to those who have served our country. Our gathering is just one, small spark in the flame of pride that burns across the nation every day," he said. "... It's a way we say that we can remember. From the soldiers who shivered and starved through the winter of Valley Forge, to the doughboys crouched in the muddy trenches in France, to the platoon who patrolled the hazy jungles of Vietnam and the young men and women patrolling the mountains of Afghanistan. We remember and we honor them all."
 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey also asked that attendees feel the loss of members of the community and grieve the lives left unlived wondering what they would have contributed to North Adams.
 
"I can't help but wonder what the lives of our soldiers would have been if they returned home especially if they returned home to North Adams. How would they have contributed? How would they help us continue their great mission?" Macksey asked. "... I envision that they would want us to enjoy today, not worry about the rain and not worry about the heat, and really remember what this day is meant to be.
 
"It's not a day off. It's not about the backyard picnic. It is a day to honor their bravery as they sacrificed their lives for our liberties. It is a reminder of the price of freedom."
 
The Gettysburg Address was given by Eli Bills of Adams, a Grade 8 student at Drury and recipient of the George O. Angeli Award. The Rev. David Anderson of First Baptist Church provided an opening and closing prayer, and Legion Post 125 member Mark Sprague was the master of ceremonies. Although there was no parade, the Drury band still provided music indoors.
 
Williamstown
A light drizzle fell intermittently as scores of Williamstown residents gathered for the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremonies at Field Park.
 

See more photos from the Williamstown parade and ceremony here.
The J. Michael Kennedy Jr. Post 152 of the American Legion coordinated the festivities, which, as always, included the playing of taps, an American flag-folding, a wreath-laying by Post 152's Women's Auxiliary, the presentation of flags to the families of veterans who have died, a rifle salute and patriotic songs performed by Jaedin King.
 
Post 152 Commander Joe Bushika was the principal speaker and used his time at the podium to educate attendees on the history of the Vietnam War and remind them of its terrible cost.
 
"The final death toll of the war reached 58,267," Bushika said. "Three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six were only 22 years old, 8,283 were 19-year-olds, 33,103 were 18, 12 were 17 years of age and five were only 16 years of age. Just give that a thought.
 
"All were lost in the prime of their life. This is the real tragedy of war. There were three sets of fathers and sons killed in the war. Thirty-one sets of parents lost two sons to the war. Nine hundred, ninety-seven servicemen died on the first day in theater. One thousand, one hundred and forty-eight died on the last day of their tour. There were eight women nurses killed in the war."
 
Post 152 Chaplain Kevin Hamel delivered the invocation.
 
"We gave you thanks for all those, our comrades and sisters, who have laid down their lives in the service of our country," Hamel said. "May they rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May the good work of seeking justice in oppression and peace for all mankind be rewarded with success, that their sacrifices may not be in vain.
 
"And may we never fail to remember the awesome cost of freedom, which we enjoy."
 
The Mount Greylock Regional School band played "The Star-Spangled Banner" to lead off the ceremonies and marched in the parade up Spring Street and west on Main Street, along with units from the local Girl Scouts, the Cal Ripken Baseball League, Bonnie Lea Farm equestrians, the Select Board, and first responders.
 
Dalton
Dalton honored the lives of fallen soldiers during its Memorial Day parade and ceremony at the Main Street Cemetery. Throughout the ceremony, speakers emphasized the importance of remembering those who lost their lives to ensure the rights we have today.
 

See more photos from the Dalton parade and ceremony here.
For the second year in a row, Wahconah Regional High student Aidan Garcia was one of two students who spoke at the ceremony.
 
He reminded attendees what he emphasized last year — to consider and remember the sacrifice of the fallen and what these sacrifices mean to all of us.
 
"It means we are safe, secure, and have freedoms beyond that of other countries on Earth. We have liberties that allow the United States to prosper," Garcia said. 
 
This is why it is important to remember them not just on Memorial Day but every day, privately, he said. 
 
"As I spoke last year, I realized that even though I am perhaps the farthest from their sacrifice, I am the youngest generation in time when there are more wars in our past than ever before. What is most touching is that my generation benefits the most from their sacrifice," he said. 
 
"We have decades ahead of us of freedom, opportunity, and safety. And those qualities were provided by our service people's deployment before we were even born. This graduating class and the classes behind me have so many ways to be successful. All because members of our nation fought and died without ever speaking to us." 
 
His  remarks were echoed by Wahconah student Elena Iovieno, adding that the freedoms we have did not come easy and came at the expense of our fallen soldiers. 
 
Iovieno quoted a line from the song "Hero Blues" by Bob Dylan, "A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with their freedom."
 
Every man and woman who died in battle, those who fought and lived, and those currently enlisted today are all heroes, she said, and, according to Dylan, anyone can be a hero, too, by understanding the responsibilities that come with freedom.
 
"We have to understand our freedom of expression and accept everyone for who they are and who they want to be. We have to understand our democratic political system and not judge someone solely on their political ideation. We have to understand that equal protection we all have and treat every human equally on the basis of sex, race, and disability," Iovieno said. 
 
Master of ceremonies Wahconah Regional High Principal acknowledged community leaders in attendance, including state Sen. Paul Mark, Legion Post 155 Cmdr. Robert Dasset, Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson, and Select Board members John Boyle, Robert Bishop, and Dan Esko. 
 
Navy veteran and Legion Post 155 member Peter Morrissey conducted the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony to honor the veterans who did not make it back home.
 

Pittsfield
Dozens of family and friends turned out to honor Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher in Pittsfield. The mourning crowd wore customized T-shirts and carried framed photographs of the airman, friend, son, and father.

"Today we honor our most recent hero, a young man who galvanized his community like no one had ever seen before," said James Clark, the city's Council on Aging director and a retired Army lieutenant colonel. 

Galliher, 24, was killed on Nov. 29 last year when the Osprey aircraft he was on crashed off the coast of Japan along with seven other crew members. The Taconic High School graduate left behind his wife, Ivy, and then 2-year-old and 6-week-old sons.


Photos from the Pittsfield Memorial Day service can be found here.
"At the celebration of life held after Jacob's funeral, I watched the Air Force members watching in awe as a loop video of Jake scoring touchdown after touchdown after touchdown for the Braves played on the big screen," he recalled. "It made me think of how impactful Jacob's first 18 years of life was to us here in the community and his family. And his very close-knit group of friends."

A new city program honors fallen hometown heroes with banners that will be displayed on North Street. Director of Veterans' Services Amanda Bates and Mayor Peter Marchetti presented Galliher's mother with a sample of the banner that honors him.

Following the fatal crash, a procession escorted him back to the Berkshires from Westover Air Force Base.  At various spots on Pittsfield, community members lined the streets in his honor.

"No one will ever forget the day Jacob returned home nor will they forget the beautiful service held for him in Dalton's St. Agnes' Church and a burial in a small secluded cemetery with a breathtaking view in Lanesborough," Clark said, asking those who have the honor and privilege of watching his sons Malcom and Killian grow to remind them that their dad was a hero who gave his all.
 
Galliher's mother, Kim Krautter, and Ivy Galliher are opening a coffeeshop in Lanesborough on June 15. According to a press release from the family, Ivy and Jacob Galliher had talked about coming to back to the Berkshires and running a coffee shop. She brought her sons here to grow up in their father's community explore her husband's dream. 

"One day, on a whim, they decided to visit Greylock Grounds. A quaint little drive-through coffee shop in Lanesborough and met the owner Joe Prince. That day there were so many signs. On the walls hung a poster with the same emblem as one of Jake's military patches. There was also a $2 bill on the wall. Two dollar bills held a special meaning for Jake and Ivy. When Jake's wallet was recovered, it still had the $2 bill Ivy had given him that she had received as a tip at the coffee shop back in Washington. There was no denying it was meant to be."

Bates extended a special welcome to the family and thanked the sizable crowd for attending.

"Today and every Memorial Day we gather to remember and honor the heroic women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice and service to our nation."

Marchetti asked that attendees keep Galliher's family in their hearts "as well as hundreds and hundreds of other Pittsfield and Berkshire County residents." Marchetti's father was amongst the new names spoken when poppies were placed in an urn by fellow veterans.

Peter L. Marchetti passed away earlier this month at the age of 79 and served in the Army from 1965 to 1970.

"This Friday I was at St. Joseph Cemetery attending the funeral of my dad and the number of flags that were flown in St. Joseph Cemetery honoring and recognizing our veterans and a special thanks to all the veterans organizations that were there to provide my dad a full military burial," he said.

"To all of you, we gather and even the weather has come to say this is a solemn day, a day to remember, a day to honor, and a day to show respect."

Bates was the master of ceremonies, Tyrone Belanger was the officer of the day, the national anthem was sung by Curtis Janey, the invocation was done by William Frey, Woody Vaspra has the role of honor, the volley was done by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 65, and Joe DeFillipo performed the taps.
 
Cheshire
Six Cheshire students shared what Memorial Day means to them at the town's ceremony at the new Community House.
 
Evelyn Battistoni said its more than a three-day weekend. "It's a day to think about the soldiers that died for our country when they didn't have to," she said. "These people are the reason our country is how it is today and they are the reason we celebrate today. They are the reason our country is free."
 

Cheshire students shared their essays on 'what Memorial Day means to me' at the annual observances. See more photos here
Laila Bostwick says she always asks her dad to buy a poppy to show their support. 
What makes Memorial Day extra special to me is that my uncle Wesley Carpenter served in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18," she said. "This is special to me because I know that one of my family members helped get our country to where it is today."
 
Kylie Rose Hillard said her great-grandfather gave his life. "I know that there are a lot more people that have families who celebrate those who gave their lives for your rights," she said. "The least we can do is to decorate a gravestone to show that we care and respect what they did for us."
 
Michael Keele said several members of his family served, including his father in the Army and his uncle Carl in the Marines. "So what Memorial Day means to me and my family is that you should always remember the people who fought for our country to bring us freedom and rights and fairness for the United States of America," he said. 'It is important to remember them because most people wouldn't be free and have rights to do anything."
 
Alexis Larabee said her great-grandfather also served. "I never got to meet him but I know he got a Purple Heart for getting an explosive device in his knee," she said. "It reminds me of all of the soldiers that sacrificed their life for America and for our country. ... I just want to say thank you to all the people in the war who did this for our country."
 
Bentley Zieminski said his great-great uncle was killed when his plane was shot down. "My great-grandpa also served in the military although he did not pass away but he still dedicated his life for our country," he said. "What my family does for Memorial Day is we go to the parade." If he has a game, though, they play "The Star-Spangled Banner" and remember "we're playing for the dead."
 
The Rev. Bill Furey, a Vietnam veteran, said he was told of an event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of a mother who had etched out her son's name from the wall, fell on her knees in prayer, then stood up and started talking to her son. 
 
"Everyone was amazed. It was almost like a dialogue, going on back and forth with her son. ... The significance of it is that her son was more than a name on the wall. Her son was her son, a part of her life, who was in it and always will be. 
 
"I think it's important as we gather on Memorial Day, to be able to think about, that those who have helped to preserve our freedoms are more than names on monuments. They are those living memorial memories of people who gave their all."
 
Alexis Larabee sang the national anthem; Talia Pantano read the Gettysburg Address; Furey, of Berkshire Union Chapel, gave the opening prayer and the Rev. Paul Norman of the Parish of St. John Paul II the closing prayer; Police Chief Michael Alibozek raised the flag; Selectmen Chair Shawn McGrath led the Pledge of Allegiance. All the Selectmen attended as did state Sen. Paul Mark. 

iBerkshires staff writers Tammy Daniels, Stephen Dravis, Jack Guerino, Sabrina Damms and Brittany Polito contributed to this report. 


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M&J's Taste of Home Opens on Park Street on Wednesday

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Jeanne Lapier pours out a cup of coffee. The couple will continue their catering business though will likely do fewer pop-ups not that the restaurant is open. The diner closed a year ago under past management.
ADAMS, Mass. — The light and shining interior of the old Adams dining car on Park Street is ready for its newest incarnation: M&J's Taste of Home. 
 
The diner is set to open at 6 a.m. sharp on Wednesday morning and will be open through Saturday from 6 to 2 and Sundays serving breakfast only from 6 to 1. 
 
"I can't even put into words how exciting this is," said Jeanne Lapier before cutting the ribbon on Tuesday afternoon with husband Mark Lapier, Town Administrator Jay Green and Selectwomen Christine Hoyt and Ann Bartlett. "And how much support we've gotten, it's very humbling to see all the comments and hear everybody's response ...
 
"I hope we serve everybody to their expectations."
 
The Lapiers each have been involved in the food service business for decades — Jeanne was as grocery store customer service manager and Mark's been in out of the restaurant business, including as an owner of the former Big Shirl's in North Adams. They opened M&J's Taste of Home catering and food truck about six years. 
 
Mark's closed his landscaping business and the couple will focus on the diner and their catering operation. Jeanne said she also does custom baked goods and that having the restaurant — and its dishwasher — will be a big help in that area. 
 
The Lapiers will have Mark and another cook in the back, a second baker and kitchen help, with Jeanne out front.  
 
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