SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield citizens who died while serving their country were honored on Friday during a ceremony at City Hall. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno concluded the solemn ceremony by placing a wreath at the foot of the Vietnam Memorial across from City Hall on Friday.
The monument is inscribed with the names of each Springfield resident who was killed in Vietnam. City Councilor Kateri Walsh was fortunate to have her Marine husband return safely from combat in Vietnam, but one of her neighbors lost a son.
“I think of the people who didn’t make it,” Walsh told 22News. “My neighbor down the street whose mother never adjusted to her loss and the sacrifices that so many people in our country made to preserve our freedoms. I hope people are not taken for granted.”
Bernard McCluskey is the director of Vietnam Veterans of Massachusetts. He takes issue with the way many people observe Memorial Day more as a holiday than as a time of remembrance.
“We have parties, we have cookouts, we have barbecued ribs,” McClusky said. “Had it not been for the warriors that before us, where would we be?”
Friday’s Court Square ceremony of remembrance and appreciation was the first of many more that will take place throughout western Massachusetts.
On Monday, honor guards will stand at attention and families who’ve lost loved ones in wartime will pause, reflect, and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifices to protect and ensure our freedom.