AMESBURY — Sunny skies, unseasonably warm temperatures and a desire to honor those who served in the armed forces drew hundreds of people to Amesbury Middle School to take part in this year’s Veterans Day celebration.
Participants made sure to mention that yesterday’s ceremony, which took place after a quick parade down School Street and Main Street, was indeed a chance to celebrate the efforts of the men and women who fought in this nation’s wars and protected its borders.
“We remember those who were lost and celebrate those who did their jobs,” Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer said.
One of the many touching moments in the roughly hour-long ceremony was a letter written by Goffstown, N.H., resident Donna Boulay and read to the crowd by Amesbury Veterans Agent Kristen Lucier. The letter, printed Friday in The Daily News, dives deep into the career of Boulay’s father, Robert S. Wilbur, who served in World War II as a baker in a Navy submarine. Both Boulay and Wilbur were in attendance standing near Kezer and many other elected officials.
A few minutes later, Nancy Moore, wife of deceased Korean War veteran Thomas Moore, gave a heartfelt speech regarding the importance of never forgetting the sacrifices made by those who served.
“For veterans and their families, it can have a life-long impact,” Moore said.
Thomas Moore was the city’s first battle casualty in that war, officially considered a police action, that raged from 1950 to 1953 and killed almost 40,000.
Moore went on to press for peace, saying it was important for this country to avoid additional armed conflicts in the Middle East, perhaps hinting at hawkish calls by some to intercede militarily against the Islamic nation of Iran, which is believed to be in the process of building nuclear weapons.
“Our families need them here on these shores,” Moore said.
Bob Smith, from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2016 in Amesbury, read the names of area veterans who had passed away since last Veterans Day. This was followed by the placing of three wreaths at the foot of the Doughboy statue.
Kezer, who is a lieutenant in the Air Force National Guard, spoke of how the National Guard continues to play an important role in defending the country abroad and keeping it secure within its borders. He said there have been more than 12,000 National Guard deployments over the last few years in Massachusetts with only 8,300 members, meaning that many who have served have been deployed more than once. About 500 of them are currently on active duty, but that number is expected to decrease soon with the expected return of the 182nd engineering company in Newburyport.
“I think they have tickets in hand and are coming home,” Kezer said.