A lively and heartfelt ceremony unfolded at the Chelsea Soldiers Home last Thursday in honor of Veterans Day.
Elected officials, including Congressman Michael Capuano, joined the Chelsea High School (CHS) orchestra and Cantare to provide a fitting honor to the vets living at the Soldiers Home and those visiting from Chelsea and surrounding communities.
Congressman Capuano started out the speaking program by saying there are forces all over the world that seek to destroy our freedom, and we must never forget that.
“I think many people presume our freedom has been this way and always will be this way,” he said. “That’s a very, very dangerous presumption. The world is full of people who will do this country harm. This world is full of people who hate – that’s right, hate – our freedom.”
The keynote speaker for the day was U.S. Navy Senior Chief Kelvin Wiggins – who serves on the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown.
After presenting an original piece of the Constitution’s hull to administrators of the Soldiers Home, Wiggins said that sacrifices by veterans from Bunker Hill to Baghdad have resulted in the uninhibited pursuit of freedom in the U.S.
“From Bunker Hill to Baghdad, we are the beneficiaries of the determination of our veterans to uphold this democratic ideal on which our country was founded,” he said. “Our armed forces have served as the front and the security around the world so we can pursue things like love, family, economic security, science, technology and the arts. We only need to look at the news headlines to see our way of life is a beacon of hope around the world.”
Several other officials also contributed to the speaking program, including City Manager Jay Ash, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, and Rep. Gene O’Flaherty.
“The election that just occurred is a perfect example of what these men here at the Soldiers Home fought for,” said O’Flaherty. “That transfer of power from one to the other peacefully will occur in this country – whether people agree with the results or not. What we just witnessed happen is brought to us by the sacrifice of our men and women who are vets.”
In concluding the ceremony, Commandant Michael Resca assured everyone that the Soldiers Home will be a beacon for veterans.
“To all the vets, this place is her for you and it will be here for you in the future,” he said.
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Flutists Kassandra Araola (left) and Karina Perez from the CHS Orchestra play ‘God Bless America’ during last Thursday’s Veterans’ Day tribute at the Chelsea Soldiers Home. Both the CHS orchestra and cantare played during the ceremony and added a patriotic touch to the affair.
Other Soldiers home photos (in order of page you printed for me)
Chelsea Soldiers Home Veterans’ Day Tribute, Nov. 8, 2012
Congressman Michael Capuano told the crowd that it is a dangerous presumption to assume freedom will always be available without a fight.
State Rep. Gene O’Flaherty thanked the veterans at the Soldiers Home for ensuring our freedoms and systems of government continue peacefully, even during major transfers of power on the national political stage.
City Manager Jay Ash said he had been thinking a great deal about the sacrifice made by veterans, especially as he took his son to vote for the first time last week.
4 – Numerous elected officials and administrators gathered for a photo following the program, including City Manager Jay Ash, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Gene O’Flaherty, Father Patrick Healy, U.S. Navy Senior Chief Kelvin Wiggins, and Commandant Michael Resca.
U.S. Navy Veterans and Soldiers Home resident Steve McManus sings the National Anthem on Thursday.
Commandant Michael Resca
CHS Cantare members Ashley Garcia and Kelly Vecerra stand proud while singing above Old Glory.
CHS Orchestra members Mark Samedi and Josue Theosmy trumpet out a tune at Thursday’s program.