The smell of American culinary staples hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill wafted through the air on a beautiful fall day in downtown Woburn as thousands of area residents came to pay their respects to our country's veterans. While our troops continue to battle enemy occupants in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (our longest war to date); Woburn paid tribute to our men and women in uniform with a host of rousing speeches climaxing with the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind memorial, the only of its ilk to include a list of all the veterans from one community who served in all wars throughout our nation's history including the 294 who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Representatives from the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines each paid tribute to the defenders of our nation with intermittent summaries of honor given by state and local legislators and private citizens.
Sunday's Veterans Day event was hosted by Commander of the United Veterans Council George Poole and Veteran’s Services Administrator Larry Giuseppe. Keynote speakers included: Mayor Scott Galvin, State Representative Jim Dwyer and Senator Ken Donnelly. Uplifting songs were sung by local vocalist Joanne Campbell accompanied by either the Veteran’s Services Band or the WHS Band. Deacon Phil Hardcastle and Kenneth P. Weldon added a prayer and a benediction respectively. The event ended with the unveiling of the statue and a special salute and message from all those who made it possible including benefactors John and Kathryn Flaherty. A special treat in the form of Nashville country music star Jeff Batson rounded out the two and a half hour ceremony.
Little can be said to harness the show of support the thousands of area residents displayed as they filled Woburn Square, alternately clapping and standing in solemn repose to show respect towards those that have served in our nation’s militaries. Especially impactful was the thanks toward Winchester’s own Glen Doherty who died last month in the much discussed embassy attack in Libya. Glen’s mother, Barbara, a Woburn resident, was in attendance.