Governor Charlie Baker presented the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty to families of fallen service members Tuesday.
Gov. Baker and the Massachusetts National Guard presented 14 families with the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty at the State House.
The medal is awarded to surviving family members of service men and women from the Commonwealth who were killed in action or who died as a result of wounds received in action.
“So we’ve got roughly 32,000 veterans that were killed in action,” Gary Keefe, Major general of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, told 22News. “We’re down to about, I believe, I think we still have around 12,000 families in the Commonwealth that would be eligible for this medal.”
Major General Keefe said surviving families of military members are starting to learn about the medal and want to make sure their loved one is recognized.
Like, John Crawford of Whitinsville, who attended Tuesday’s ceremony to represent his late uncle who died in a plane crash in June of 1944.
“He was only 26-years-old when he passed, so when I saw the opportunity to come here I filed the necessary papers and had to be here to represent him and the rest of the family for his service and sacrifice,” said Crawford.
Memorial Day was first observed 150 years after the Civil War to commemorate those men who died in battle.
Major General Keefe said it’s not about opening your pool or bbq for the season. Instead, he asks that we remember those fallen who fought to preserve our freedoms.
Tuesday’s ceremony honored the families of servicemen who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Enduring Freedom.