By Beth David, Editor
The town of Acushnet held a ceremony on Sunday, 5/7/23, commemorating its designation as a Purple Heart Town. About 50 people gathered at Acushnet’s Veterans Memorial to hear some remarks and to honor veterans.
Selectboard chairperson David Wojnar read a proclamation by the Selectboard declaring “great admiration and the utmost gratitude” for those serving their country in the Armed Forces.
“Veterans have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families and communities and placing themselves in harm’s way,” read Mr. Wojnar. “…The contributions and sacrifices of the men and woman who served in the Armed Forces have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens.”
The proclamation states that citizens receive the Purple Heart “as a result of being wounded while engaged in combat with an enemy force construed as a singularly meritorious act of essential service.
SB member Kevin Gaspar also spoke, telling the crowd it was a fitting venue for the event; the memorial is a “solemn reminder of service and sacrifice. It serves our community well as a gathering place to reflect and give thanks to those who have made our nation strong.”
“As Americans, we enjoy freedoms and privileges not found anywhere else in the world,” said Mr. Gaspar, and asked how it is possible that after two centuries the US remains free, strong and still viewed as a nation of hope and opportunity.
“The answer is sitting here among us today,” he said, with people who have taken the oath to defend our nation.
The oath, he said, comes with a price.
The Purple Heart represents the reality of the risk service members face. He said we owe thanks and recognition to Purple Heart recipients.
“Our freedom and way of life has remained intact. And it did not come without a price,” said Mr. Gaspar. “Those who wear the Purple Heart paid a significant price for all of us.”
State Rep. Paul Schmid also spoke, telling the crowd that Massachusetts is second to none in the benefits it provides for veterans. But it is not just benefits we owe our veterans, he said: “It is respect.”
“I think Acushnet takes second place to none in the respect it pays to its veterans,” said Rep. Schmid.
Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient Rick Janson also spoke, telling the crowd that it took many years before he would even let anyone know he had been in Vietnam.
“Now, I’m damn proud of it,” said Mr. Janson.
American Legion Commander Michael Jenney emceed, and Fairhaven’s Veterans Services Officer, Brad Fish, also spoke, reading the Veterans prayer. Music included “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles, and “Hallelujah.” The public was invited to the American Legion for coffee and donuts after. Selectboard candidate, Eric Chew, also attended.
The event is available for viewing on demand on the town’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCUEkoUuv5U
Click here to download the 5/11/23 issue: 05-11-23 SunnyBDay
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal