By Vannessa L. JoseyMay 31, 2018
Decoration Day started 150 years ago to honor the Civil War dead by decorating the graves with flowers. The holiday transformed to Memorial Day to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while wearing our Nation's uniform.
Leadership from the Natick Soldiers Systems Center represented those serving today at Memorial Day ceremonies in Watertown, Natick and Wayland, Massachusetts.
Brig. Gen. Vincent F. Malone, senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, spoke during the community Memorial Day ceremony in Watertown.
He talked about the history of the old Watertown Arsenal and the role it had in supporting Soldiers before turning to the solumn tribute of those who were lost.
"Young men and women from Watertown have raised their right hand and swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States since the birth of our Nation," said Malone. "Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to stop and think about those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our Great Nation, and pay a well-deserved tribute to those who ensured for us the freedoms we now enjoy.
"As we mark a century since the end of the war to end all wars, we are reminded of the true cost," the general continued. "That's why this day is so important to all Americans. Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to stop and think about those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation, and pay a well-deserved tribute to those who ensured for us the freedoms that we now enjoy."
Malone also participated in the Honoring and Remembering our Massachusetts Military Heroes ceremony on the Boston Common.
At the Natick Memorial Day Ceremony, USAG Natick Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Bryan Martin spoke of how the Town of Natick is woven into the history of our Nation.
He spoke of Crispus Attucs who lived in servitude on the Natick-Framingham line before becoming a Sailor and was the first to die in the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770.
"Natick is a town where the cost of our liberty is not forgotten," Martin said. "Since that initial watering of blood, Natick men and women offered their lives in service to our country in all our nation's conflicts."
In our Nation's history, 170 from the Town of Natick gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation.
Command Sgt. Major Michael Pintagro, the garrison senior enlisted leader, spoke at the Wayland Memorial Day ceremony, Monday.
"Men and women from Wayland, Massachusetts, New England and throughout the United States continue to serve their nation diligently, sometimes courageously and occasionally heroically in ongoing anti-terror missions," Pintagro said.
Waterloo, New York may have been the birthplace of a time honored tradition. However, the local area shows that honoring and remembering those who came before, served and gave the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten. And will always continue to strengthen those within the borders.
The general and command sgt. Maj. also participated in the Honoring and Remembering our Massachusetts Military Heroes ceremony on the Boston Common by reading names of the fallen from the Commonwealth during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Calvin Coolidge in a speech not long after World War I said, "The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten."
The ceremonies in Watertown, Natick and Wayland showed the understanding of the importance of Memorial Day, the true meaning of the observance and honored those we lost.