A touch of history was added to Monday’s Memorial Day Services on the lawn in front of the American Legion Post #61 next to City Hall.
This year’s Memorial Day marked 100 years since World War I ended. To honor that history, four members of the Revere High School Jr. ROTC wore “Dough Boy” uniforms from World War I.
Under grey, sometimes drizzly skies, about 100 people turned out to pay homage to the deceased veterans.
Director of Veterans Affairs Marc Silvestri orchestrated a fine ceremony for everyone with Olivia Freni singing, “God Bless the U.S.A.” and Maurice and Sonji Neverson singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”
Chloe Giordano, a Revere High sophomore, was selected by Gov. Charlie Baker to read the Governor’s Proclamation for Memorial Day.
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo speaking at the ceremony said, “we remember all who served and they did so with bravery and courage. For many, memories of the war may be poignant or painful, but we all want them to know that we have their back.
It’s important that we give back to our veterans. When they come home we want each to know they are guaranteed the best services that this nation has to offer. I’m proud of everything Massachusetts has done for its veterans. We rank first in the nation when it comes to assisting our veterans and military personnel.
Just last week we passed the Brave Act which among other things increases the active duty death benefit and the amount of financial support the state provides for veteran’s burial expenses. This legislation also provides a pathway for military personnel to become EMTs once they return home.
Although we can never fully repay we can keep them in our thoughts and in our prayers.”
Attending the event were members of the City Council, members of the School Committee. Honor guards from the police and fire department, as well as the Revere High School Jr. ROTC. Taps was played by trumpeter Paul Amirault, a Vietnam army veteran.
Mayor Brian Arrigo said there are 201 Revere soldiers who perished during their military service to the nation. Each one of their names were read as a bell was struck.
“In the words of James A. Garfield, 20th president of the United States: ‘For love of country, they accepted death.’ Arrigo said, adding, “In our nation’s history, this day originally honored only the more than 620,000 soldiers who died in the civil war. After America’s entry into World War I–the “War to end all wars”–the holiday remembrance was extended to those killed in all the nation’s wars.”
State Sen. Joseph Boncore reminded people to be patriotic and that not only does the service member enlist, so too does their family. He urged the remembrance of the Gold Star families who carry the loss of their loved one everyday.
“We grieve with them and that their sacrifice made with not be forgotten,” Boncore said.
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent said over time more than 1 million have made the ultimate sacrifice in America’s wars for the freedoms enjoyed today.
“Every person you see on these memorials around you have a story. They were young men and women who went to war because they believed in what our country stands for. We will hold them in our hearts forever,” Vincent said.
Revere historian and professor Jeff Pearlman spoke about World War I and read the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae, as part of his speech.
“The Great War took the lives of nine million soldiers, 21 million more were wounded,” he said.
Pearlman said Revere should stand proud for the role served in the Great War. He read from the 1918 Revere Journal and how it used to announce those being sent overseas. There was a rousing send off from City Hall. There was also a rousing departure on trains along Revere Beach. March 1918 the Revere Journal sadly reported the first loses. Revere residents took great interest in the war activities.