A large crowd turned out at Town Hall for the annual Veterans Day ceremony Sunday honoring our veterans and their service in defending our country. It was a touching and well-done ceremony that demonstrated the respect, admiration, and appreciation the town has for all the men and women who have served our country.
Larry Holmes, Director of Veterans Services for the town, and Richard Honan, a Vietnam veteran, led the way in organizing this great event in honor of the veterans. Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo delivered a forceful address, saying our freedom of speech and religion, and parents being allowed to send their children to whichever school they wish to attend, are some of the things that make “The United States the best country in the world.” DeLeo also personally thanked the veterans in the town for their service to the country.
Richard Gay, U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, said in his featured address that he was happy to see some of our younger residents in attendance helping to carry on this important tradition. The Winthrop Youth Football cheerleaders led the singing of “God Bless America” and coach Sean Driscoll and his Winthrop High football players stood respectfully in the back of the assemblage listening to the speeches and the tributes to our veterans.
The presence of our Fire Department, led by Chief Paul Flanagan, and our Police Department, led by Acting Chief Frank Scarpa, also helped make it a momentous tribute to our veterans. Of course, our Town Manager, James McKenna, and Council President Peter Gill, also were in attendance on this important day. The Lodge of Elks and the Emblem Club also participated in the program.
For many the highlight was the appearance of U.S. Marine Corporal Joseph Cordes, a Class of 2010 graduate of Winthrop High School, who had just returned from a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Cordes said the job of his contingent was to clear to the roads of improvised explosive devices (IED) which are roadside bombs. It was so meaningful to the people of Winthrop to hear from one of our own tell stories of the brave and gallant work that our men are doing to preserve our freedom and keep our country safe and strong. Cordes also personally thanked Richard Honan for the wonderful care packages that he sends to his platoon. He said Honan’s effort represented the generosity that the people of Winthrop have for the United States military.
Mr. Holmes summed up the feelings of the crowd on this day when he said that he was awestruck by seeing Corporal Cordes in attendance and hearing his personal speech about his service for this country.