SHREWSBURY – Residents gathered at the World War I Memorial in front of the former Beal School to honor Veterans Day.
“It is an honor to speak to you on Veterans Day, especially in front of the Shrewsbury World War I memorial. Veterans Day is a day to respect, honor and remember all of our service members,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury).
In addition to Moore, the ceremony was also attended by local veterans, firefighters, police, the Select Board, Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and scouts.
Veteran John Travers said this fall was his 40th reunion as a veteran at the military academy. When he reunited with his 400 classmates, he said they didn’t discuss the rigorous training and brutal situations they endured while serving in the military.
“What we talked about was commitment, loyalty, service to our country, and love of our country and that is what today is all about,” Travers said.
For the first time, Shrewsbury was recognized as a Purple Heart Community during this Veterans Day.
About a year ago, Shrewsbury resident Gale Vigeant asked about installing signs to honor Shrewsbury as a Purple Heart Community.
Vigeant’s father, Lieutenant John Lavin, served two tours as a combat marine in the Pacific Campaign of World War II. He was wounded during the invasion of Guam when he was 22-years-old and later received a Purple Heart, according to Select Board member Beth Casavant.
This month, four Purple Heart signs were installed at the main entry points into town.
“Every year since World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we pause to remember the sacrifices to the service men and women to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy everyday,” said Casavant.
The ceremony included a choir performance by students from the Walter J. Paton Elementary School, a moment of silence for the fallen Shrewsbury veterans, a wreath laying ceremony and an opportunity for the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to thank the veterans for their service.