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.

It was standing room only as people from Holliston and beyond Saturday morning around 10:00am.
HPD Chief Matthew Stone, his son Harrison, and HFD Chief Michael Cassidy

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.

Holliston Select Board Clerk John Cronin complimented the Veterans on the culmination of this months-long effort. The Town of Holliston is proud of its veterans.
American Legion Post 47 Commander Steve Bradford read a very moving poem that reminded us that more than just the person at war is in service to our nation.

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.

Sterling Edgar (R) shared a congratulatory message from Senate President Karen Spilka. Sen. Spilka and former Rep. Carolyn Dykema brought a $30,000 earmark to help fund the project.

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!

LTC Keith Napolitano (with mom Jackie peeking over the Monument).

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.

Sven Mozdiez and Commander Bradford salute the wreath that they laid at the Monument.
Photo courtesy Steve Bradford

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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  1. Terry R. Payton on May 17, 2022 at 7:03 am

    A moving monument dedicated to Veterans. Nice to see the services represented and their words straight from the heart. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and was proud to serve my country. Also nice to see my son-in-law there HPD Chief Matt Stone and my grandson Harrison in attendance.

  2. Antonia Mercer Clark on May 17, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    The night lighting is especially nice. Thank you.

  3. Dan Valovcin on May 17, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Why were the veterans, who’s names are on this Monument, not contacted about this?