Watertown Veterans Gather In-Person to Commemorate Memorial Day

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Charlie Breitrose

Watertown veterans salute the Flag during the playing of the National Anthem at the Memorial Day Observance.

Memorial Day 2021 in Watertown had more of a normal feeling than last year, with veterans able to gather in person and pay tribute to those who gave their lives serving their country.

While the parade was cancelled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Town’s Memorial Day Observance took place under a tent next to the Commander’s Mansion.

“I think the community and everyone else has learned a crash course in what veterans call improvise, adapt and overcome,” said Watertown Veterans Services Officer Patrick George.

Last year, members of the Shutt Detachment of the Marine Corps League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and AmVets organized the place flags on graves of veterans and place wreaths at memorials around Watertown despite the COVID-19 restrictions. They also took part in a video tribute, rather than having the annual gathering George said.

This year, they could gather in person, not only at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony but for the first annual Poppy Picnic, held Friday at the Commander’s Mansion. George said planning has already started for next year’s parade.

Charlie Breitrose

Members of the Watertown Police and Watertown Fire Department Honor Guards talk before the Memorial Day event at the Commander’s Mansion.

George said that Vietnam veterans face increased risk from COVID-19, due to their exposure to Agent Orange (the herbicide used to clear vegetation in Southeast Asia which has led to health problems in those exposed). He noted the comorbidities for the Coronavirus almost mirror those for Agent Orange, including respiratory issues, diabetes and heart-related issues.

Town Council President Mark Sideris said he was glad to be able to attend an in-person event for Memorial Day, this year.

“It’s an honor for me to be here and I really missed being here last year, because this is my only opportunity to thank the veterans with us, and to pay tribute to the veterans who have gone before us,” Sideris said. “They gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to have our freedoms.”

Charlie Breitrose

The Waltham American Legion Band performed during Watertown’s Memorial Day ceremonies.

Representative’s from Watertown’s veterans groups read the names of the members who passed away over the past year. Derek Mayerhofer, Commander of the VFW Post 1105, said that while he hopes people enjoy their barbecues and gatherings on Memorial Day, it is important to remember what the holiday is about.

“For me it’s about celebrating and perpetuating the history and memories of those who cannot be here today. Even though they may not be here, their stories and memories live on: the good ones, bad ones, crazy, sad, and sometimes outright unbelievable. They shape us into who we are and who we become,” Mayerhofer said. “If you ask my children what Memorial Day means, their answer is: it is a day to remember all those veterans that went to heaven.”

4 thoughts on “Watertown Veterans Gather In-Person to Commemorate Memorial Day

  1. I’m asking for the most doable site for a temporary high school .

    I learned there are 655 students at the Hosmer School . There are 674 students at the high school .

    When the new section of the Hosmer is completed and the students move out of the old section – the high school students could move in . They Could also put a portable building on the land where the tents are .

    The high school students could use the gym cafeteria and a large field .

    It would not be destructive in any way .it would not cost $24,million like the PFC Moxley plan .
    Tom Sullivan proposed this plan .

    I srespectfully ask the building committee to approve .
    I really liked John Lawn’s plan but unfortunately Steriitt lumber was sold 2 years ago to Nordloom -(40b )For a lab. To go imminent domain would take years through the courts and probably $20million dollars ,

    I have been in touch with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to inquire if the July deadline could be extended.
    They are going to look into it .
    The town is required to submit the site of the temporary site .
    I’m asking the building committee to vote tonight for the Hosmer plan .
    Thank you Tom.

    • Your making decisions based on your personal connection and not the for best interest for the town or it’s students.
      You have no children going to either the Hosmer or HighSchool. Just strictly personal feelings. You may be used to getting your own way in the past by bullying people with your Governors Council influence, but not this time.
      The students of Watertown come first.

      • The right decision was made. The school project was approved and the swing space will be at Moxley Field. The phony argument about disrespecting veterans went down to unanimous defeat!!

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