Veterans’ Monument Dedicated
Many months of thinking, designing, soliciting, and construction all came together for the dedication of a beautiful Monument to those who served during the time of the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A large crowd turned out at the Monument near the corner of Vine and Front Streets to witness the accomplishment of many who took an idea and turned it into a grassroots effort that yielded an outstanding result.
A hardy group of vets marched from the VFW on Woodland St to the site of the ceremony, arriving in the formation seen below.
A driving force behind this effort was Marine veteran, Steve Napolitano (below right). Steve acted as MC of the dedication and “clerk of the works” throughout the construction phase. To Steve’s left below is Ron Turcotte, Chaplain for the Holliston veterans’ groups.
Mr. Napolitano offered his thanks to the committee, the volunteers, the fundraisers, the Veterans Services Officers, and those who volunteered to serve our nation during the Iraq / Afghanistan wars. Several other veterans added their voice in support of those who serve. The following pictures / words are not necessarily in the order they appeared that day – but the message is clear.
Seen in the photo above is WWII veteran Vincent Trunfio and his wife Susan. Another WWII vet was in attendance, Bob Hopkins who will Marshal the upcoming Memorial Day parade.
Marine vet Sven Mozdiez (below) spoke about his time in battle – and finding two other Marines from Holliston in his platoon. He noted with sorrow that the death due to war does not end when the veterans come home. Many vets find camaraderie through veterans’ organizations others are lost to the nightmares of war.
Soon to retire from his career in the Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Keith Napolitano (below), a pilot who flew thousands of combat missions in a C-130 Hercules. LTC Napolitano talked about his “free time” in the war zone. He volunteered at military hospitals and, through the residents of Holliston, provided needed items to civilian victims of the devastation.
If you are a passenger on a Delta Airlines flight, perhaps your pilot will be named Napolitano!
Below is Herb Brockert. Herb is a fixture in Holliston. If you need to build it – he will come. Herb shared two topics: how the monument came to be where it is now located and what spending twelve months in a warzone is like.
The tale of the Monument started at the corner of Railroad and Exchange Streets where an early drawing depicted a single flag right near the street. Not a suitable location for reflection, contemplation, and thanks. The location at the intersection of Front and Vine just off the Rail Trail seemed ideal. The Blair Square committee liked it. Herb noted that the telephone pole behind the Monument was at first thought to be an easy source of power. Little did they know that the next pole down Front St held the needed juice – no problem, Herb dug a 150-foot trench. Herb marveled at the masonry work.
Herb, a Viet Nam veteran, spoke about how times have changed and welcomed the vocal support / thanks vets now receive when in public. He spoke without notes and straight from the heart – echoing the lament of losing so many veterans to suicide. Some names on the monument are marked with a star indicating the veteran died of suicide.
I have attended many military events and cannot think of a more powerful message from any military or civilian leader. Honor and Service comes in many forms and belongs to all of us. Thank you Herb.
As the sun set, the automated lighting took over to make sure that the names and flags will always be visible for all to see and remember.
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