Celebrating WWII Veterans in Watertown, MA

Part of living with CKD is finding enough time to do things…like blog ;-). And it occurred to me that I haven’t talked much about actually living with CKD, just my treatment of it. Here’s yesterday’s story.

In 1942, my dad was 16 years old. He dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, ending up in Germany. I don’t know a lot about his military history (he rarely spoke about it), but I do know that he fought in both World War II (WWII) and the Korean Conflict.

Yesterday, I remembered his service to our country.

Last year, the members of the Private Charles J. Shutt Marine Detachment in Watertown decided to honor their WWII veterans with lunch and a ceremony on April 21, 2012. The Lynn English High School Marines JROTC Drill Team was invited to participate. All 80 kids wanted to attend! But only eight (four girls and four boys) were selected. (And my son was one of them!)

When we arrived at the Hibernian Hall on Watertown St. yesterday, dozens of people were still getting everything arranged. There was a stage in the hall with a screen, the United States flag, flags from all the branches of the service, and speakers playing 1940s-era music (I was singing along with some of it). Twenty tables were set up for lunch, along with a long buffet line. A TV reporter from the local cable access channel was recording different areas of the hall and would record parts of the ceremony. (She also interviewed the kids while they were waiting their turn for lunch.)

The kids spent much of this time practicing their routines. (Because this was a special event, each squad had created a new routine specifically for the event.) But when the doors opened, they lined up and escorted the veterans and their spouses or assistants to their seats.

The ceremony opened with a short speech (where all veterans from all conflicts were recognized), the national anthem (Whitney Houston’s version from YouTube), an opening prayer, and a welcome from the Secretary of Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. And then it was lunch time :-). The Hibernian Hall presented a great buffet: Italian bread and butter, salad, pasta with meatballs and sausage, green beans and carrots, roasted potatoes, herbed chicken, and ham. (From the number of times the kids went back for seconds, I’d say that the food was really good!)

And then it was time for the ceremony to start. After being introduced, the JROTC squads performed. (Yes, I have permission from Sergeant Major to share this video.)

(That’s my voice in the middle of the video, explaining to the veteran I was sitting with about the squads. Other than that, there’s very little talking…just a few commands every now and then.)

The veterans loved the presentation. As “the mom”, I received many compliments about the kids because of their respectful behavior and their presentations. I was close to tears several times throughout the day.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with various speeches. Watertown’s State Senator and State Representative, a member of the Governor’s Council, and Watertown Town Council President all read resolutions. Several videos were shown, including the signing of the terms of surrender (search YouTube for “end world war II” to see the video). The final speaker was a WWII submarine officer.

It was a day to remember “The Greatest Generation”. It was incredible.

[EDITED TO ADD PHOTOS]

I just realized that I had also taken several photos yesterday:

Sgt Major and kids
Sergeant Major and the Young Marines

JRTOC kids with vet (1)
One of the veterans, his wife, and the Young Marines

JRTOC kids with vet (2)
One of the veterans and the Young Marines

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