Sunday is looking to be a day to celebrate and remember those families who lost loved ones while serving the country in the midst of combat – otherwise known as Gold Star Families.
The occasion will be marked by the unveiling of the colossal rehabilitation of the Gold Star Pavilion at Glenwood Cemetery.
Veterans Commissioner Jeanne Cristiano noted that the Pavilion had fallen into disrepair, and the City’s Facilities Maintenance Department went to work on restoring the treasured and sacred Pavilion.
And that work will be celebrated with honors on Sunday.
“The Pavilion needed to be reconstructed and rededicated,” she said. “We reconstructed it and we thought there was no better time to celebrate this than on Gold Star Mothers and Families Day, Sept. 29…They have reconstructed it and restored it to what it originally looked like. They treated it like an historical monument. The beauty of this is we didn’t contract this out. We had our Facilities team do the work. It’s very special.”
Cristiano said as part of the celebration, they will award the Medal of Liberty to three Everett families who lost loved ones in Korea and Vietnam.
“We’ve been blessed,” she said. “We haven’t had any casualties in combat since Vietnam.”
However, those from that era are to be recognized on Sunday, she said. They include:
•Sgt. David Kuhns was a graduate of Everett High that was killed in action during Vietnam.
•Marine Lance Corporal James Taurisano will also be honored. Interestingly, his step-brother Richard Stratton went to Vietnam with him under the Buddy System program. While Taurisano was killed in action, Stratton returned home to Everett. Accepting the Medal of Liberty will be Richard Stratton.
•Sgt. Joe Riley was originally from Charlestown, but his brother George Riley has lived in Everett for 60 years. Sgt. Riley went Missing in Action during the Korean Conflict, and eventually was declared Killed In Action.
On hand to present the Medals of Liberty will be Ret. Brigadier General Paul Landry and Lt. Col. Dana Sanders-Udo from the Massachusetts National Guard.
Cristiano said she hopes that by starting this tradition, they might be able to find other veterans and their families who are eligible for the Medal of Liberty – which has very strict criteria.
“What we want to start doing is if we can draw attention to this event, we hope we can find more Everett families that qualify and this can be something we do every Memorial Day,” she said. “It’s hard to find them and it’s a very strict criteria, but we’re going to try.”
Following the ceremony at 1 p.m. in Glenwood Cemetery, there will be a collation at the Crimson Tide Café in the High School.