Region – As a solemn reminder of the difference between Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day, the group Fallen Heroes made a presentation for sophomores and juniors at Assabet Valley Regional Technical School in Marlborough. Michael Devin, retired Marine Corps captain, listened as a student correctly explained that Veterans’ Day recognizes all of our veterans, while Memorial Day is reserved to honor those that have fallen in the line of duty. In particular, Fallen Heroes focuses on those lost since 9-11. It is their mission to honor fallen veterans, assist the Gold Star families (those who have lost a family member), and empower returning veterans.
This weekend marked the first anniversary of the dedication of a new memorial in the Seaport district in Boston to recognize and honor those veterans who were killed in the line of duty. It is the first of its kind in America.
“We ask that it be a reminder to think about those who never came home, because their families are remembering that every single day. For the Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day,” explained Devin.
A very moving video was shown, interviewing some Gold Star family members, and other veterans, recounting how protecting our freedom comes at a cost. Steven Xiarhos, father of an infantryman who was killed, reiterated how we must all keep the spirit alive for these fallen heroes, that they did not die in vain.
“Try to do what’s right, even when no one is watching,” he urged.
As the video continued, the high school students were completely silent, caught up in the solemnity of the event.
Lindsey Arsenault lost her brother, Brian, Sept. 9, 2014, in Afghanistan. She recalled how Memorial Day in 2015 affected her family.
“I saw how commercialized this day has become, with mattress sales and car sales, and realized that so many have missed that point that this is a day to remember the fallen. It is a day for honor, respect and remembrance,” she said. “So have your picnics and barbecues, but pause for a moment and think about the ultimate sacrifices that have been made just so that the rest of us can enjoy our freedoms.”
Fallen Heroes was organized in Massachusetts in 2010 by Boston firefighters, local Veterans, Gold Star families, and police officers. The initial goal was to raise funds to erect a memorial to those who have been lost in the Global War on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. That goal has been realized, but now the scope has increased to serve as liaisons in support of local veterans, their families and Gold Star families. For more information, visit www.massfallenheroes.org.