Wareham honors sacrifice, service on Veterans Day

Nov 11, 2017

Wareham celebrated the sacrifice and courage of veterans on Saturday at a ceremony that ended with a call for peace.

Held in the Multi-Service Center, the Veterans Day event featured several speakers, including Julio Roderick of the Dudley L. Brown Veterans of Foreigns Post in Onset.

“We believe our strength on the field of battle…lay in the justice of our cause against forces of evil,” he said. “We believe our determination made us better warriors because we fought with our minds and our hearts as well as our bodies.”

Joyce Wagner, whose husband Johannes passed away earlier this year, also spoke. Johannes had been heavily involved in veterans’ activities in town, including helping to bring the Vietnam Moving Wall to town this summer.

“While the horrors of the battlefield may not have been our experience,” she began before becoming overwhelmed. “Sorry, this brings backs memories,” she said. “We have lived with the terrifying loneliness created to answer an aggressor’s challenge.”

In her remarks, State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) touted recent legislation that approved money for a new soldiers home in Chelsea, allow cities and towns to establish funds for Veterans Day celebrations and provide for veterans-only parking spaces at city and town halls.

“I am proud to say Massachusetts continues to lead our nation in exhibiting gratitude and a debt of service to our veterans,” said Gifford.

Selectman Alan Slavin noted that residents should not only show gratitude to veterans, but first responders as well.

He said police, firefighters and teachers all work for the public good and in some cases “put their lives on the line.”

“Just say ‘thank you,’” said Slavin. “It goes a long way.”

To close out the ceremony, Wareham Community Television Director Steve Ruiz sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

“This is fitting,” said Ruiz. “That’s been our prayer all along, to send our people home.”