CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Each Veterans Day the City of Chicopee honors its veterans with different ceremonies and services.
Chicopee has more than 5000 veterans, the most of any community in western Massachusetts. A few of them walked across the veterans plaza for the ceremony to lay these wreaths Wednesday morning.
“Trying to enjoy life to its fullest. Especially when you grow older,” Ronald Laplan, Korean War Veteran said.
Ronald was one of the first Air Force Engineers in the Korean War.
“We were assigned to the Air Force and the Army we were sort of like in between organizations, it was funny.”
He’s now Vice Commander and Secretary of Chapter 2000 of Korean War Veterans of western Massachusetts and carries his father-in-laws “swagger stick” expertly made of bullet casings.
“When I was young being old was way out but now I’m here and it’s different,” Laplan said.
“To honor all these veterans who gave all for our freedoms for our country and they saved so many lives they liberated so many counties,” Gary McNahon Vietnam Era Veteran said.
Veterans from many branches and war eras came to lay wreaths and honor those who’ve also served. Each veteran walked quietly across the plaza to lay their wreath before saluting.
This was not a public event for public safety reasons during the pandemic and was invitation only. Invited veterans from many branches and war eras came to lay wreaths and honor those who’ve also served. They then stood in salute for the playing of taps after all the wreaths were placed.
Congressman Richard Neal and Mayor Vieau participated in the event.
According to the department of defense, Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace – dead or alive – although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
The Chicopee Department of Veteran Services is asking people to take a moment today to thank a veteran for their service and remind them that their sacrifices don’t go unnoticed.
November is also National Veterans and Military Family Month which acknowledges the sacrifices that military families make.