WESTBOROUGH – On Saturday, Nov. 11, the town joined the nation in honoring veterans near and far, living and dead.
Sponsored by the town’s Veterans Advisory Board, the event included brief stops at Memorial Park, and St. Luke’s, Pine Grove and Midland cemeteries, before the main ceremonies in front of Forbes Municipal Center.
“You represent the best of us, and the best of America,” Elysha O’Brien, a detective with the Westborough Police Department who served as master of ceremonies, told the local veterans assembled.
Members of the town’s police and fire departments joined in the observances, along with a troop of Lions and Cub Scouts.
Select Board Chair Sean Keogh acknowledged the debt the nation owes its veterans.
“We owe all veterans a debt of gratitude we could never fully pay,” he said.
This year’s grand marshal was Michael Barretti Sr., a longtime resident and a retired Marine Corps major.
“This is a day of observation, of reflection and of celebration,” he said.
Barretti pointed out that veterans could be the ones building your home, or serving you that morning cup of coffee at the drive-thru.
“Who are these heroes? They are in plain sight,” he said.
Barretti asked the audience to remember those veterans who have been forgotten “and living the streets,” as well veterans who remain missing action and families of those serving their country.
No one left behind should remain our mantra,” he said.
As grand marshal, Barretti was presented citations from the state House and Senate by state Sen. Michael Moore.
James Tepper, the chairman of the advisory board, presented a brief history of the day, which began as Armistice Day in November 1919, one year after hostilities in “The Great War” ceased. It became a federal holiday in 1938; the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in 1954 to include all veterans.
Westborough High School’s a cappella group, Don’t Panic, performed the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
As the group began the third verse of “America the Beautiful,” the bells at Town Hall chimed the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.