Numerous Everett officials came together on Monday, Nov. 12, to honor those who served the country in the military for Veterans Day – a ceremony that marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The ceremony was kicked off by Veterans Commissioner Jeanne Cristiano, who noted the 100th Anniversary of WWI and commended all veterans in the room.
The keynote speaker was Army Brigadier General (retired) James Voss, who mentioned that Veterans Day took a different meaning to him after he was in the military.
“For me, Veterans Day is totally different to me than it was before I joined,” he said. “If has forever changed for me. Memorial Day is another one. It’s a holiday that has drastically changed its meaning for me, as it has for all vets.”
He spoke about the Gold Star mothers, and how we should take care of them. As well, he spoke about veterans who come back and lives quiet lives – but suffer from the silent wounds of war. To that, he held up his ring finger that bore a symbol for veterans who have committed suicide – a trend that comes at about 22 per day.
In conclusion, he said that it is about defending freedom, and that is something none of us can be lax upon.
“The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military,” he said. “We can protect our freedom by continuing to speak out against injustices. Make sure your values in your community reflect the freedoms promised to us as Americans. We can never let our guard down.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria noted that the current war on terror has lasted 17 years with no end in sight. He recognized Sean Yebba, who fought in the war and received two Purple Hearts.
“We recognize there are those who walk among us and who did walk among us and have passed on that gave a piece of their lives to make sure we remain free,” he said. “We’ve been at war since 2001. The U.S. has fought for 17 years every day with no end in sight. We need to keep those men and women who have fought in our minds.”
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he grandfather fought in World War II, but rarely talked about it – even refusing to go back to Italy to visit the war memorials later in life.
“He was in battle and storming the shoreline with two friends running by his side,” said DiDomenico. “As they ran to the shore, his two friends were killed and he kept running forward. He held that in his whole life. We didn’t know that story until his wake. Our state is the best when it comes to veterans benefits and we do good in many cases. But we fail in many cases because even if there is one veteran who is homeless, who needs food or who needs a job, then we have failed as a society. They completed their mission. Our mission is to take care of them and give them what they deserve.”
Supt. Fred Foresteire recalled the inauguration of John F. Kennedy 57 years ago, and the words he spoke having been a decorated veteran of WWII.
“On this Veterans Day, I want you to know I am most grateful to the young men and women of Everett that when summonsed for the call of liberty, they answered that call,” he said.
The ceremony ended with the Everett High School band playing an Armed Forces Medley, and then concluded with Taps.