Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Town of Sandwich Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration

I was pleased to be asked by the American Legion to speak at this year's Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration. It was a perfect weather day and we had a great turn out.

Fred Sozio, Korean War Veteran, was the parade marshal. He received a long and loud applause when Will Rogers, American Legion Commander, introduced him. Everyone also welcomed US Navy Captain (Retired) Barbara Knight, Patricia DeConto (whose son, Capt. Gerald DeConto, was killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001), and Jane Ellis, who sang God Bless America.

Police Chief Peter Wack gave a stirring reminder of the people who we should keep in our thoughts and prayers on Memorial Day, including first responders who gave their lives assisting others.

Lt. Travis Andrade spoke about the fundamental reason we engage in military action: To preserve our freedoms, not to destroy our enemies. He provided many current and historical references to bolster his points and delivered his address impeccably.

PFC LaRiviera of the Nicholas Xiarhos Young Marines led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Sandwich High School Chorus sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

The bell tolled for all of our Town of Sandwich veterans who passed away since last year's Memorial Day Commemoration. Wreaths were laid, 21-gun salutes honored the dead, and Taps was played by bugler Robbi Laak.

My speech follows:

My sincerest thank you goes out to the members of the American Legion Post 188 who coordinate this Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration. This event is a symbol of their allegiance to our fallen troops, many of whom have been relatives, friends and acquaintances of the legionnaires who are here today.

I also welcome all of our parade participants and observers, especially those of you who are senior citizens and youngsters, for it shows that you are never too old to honor the sacrifices of our military servicemen and women, and you are never too young to start learning about those who fought for our freedoms.

In Massachusetts, the fight to be an independent country goes back to the shot heard ‘round the world. The Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19, 1775, more than a year before our declaration of independence. Four days later, the 6th Massachusetts Regiment was formed and later joined by militias and armies from across the thirteen colonies to shed British rule and give birth to the United States of America.

We gather on this day to pay tribute to the 25,000 people who lost their lives in the Revolutionary War;

to the 15,000 in the War of 1812;

to the 625,000 in the Civil War—some say many more and it is the war that inspired Memorial Day;

to the 117,000 in World War I;

to the 405,000 in World War II;

to the 37,000 in the Korean War;

to the 58,000 in the Vietnam War;

to the 2,000 in Afghanistan;

to the 4,500 in Iraq;

and to the 33,000 others who paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our country in numerous other conflicts since the birth of this nation.

Every one of those 1,300,000 brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and merchant marines left grieving families and friends who knew them for who they were and what they stood for. They were casualties of war, yes. They were counted and logged, yes. But they were not statistics.

No, they were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. They were people who had their futures cut short because they put themselves in harm’s way to defend our way of life. Our freedoms. Our liberty.

It is in honor and memory of these brave souls that we take time out of our busy schedules to honor our dead on Memorial Day. And it is fitting that we follow these somber moments of commemoration with fellowship, food, drink, and family activities. Just keep in mind those who gave their all to ensure that we keep these freedoms.

I will conclude with a short poem entitled “No Need To Fear.”

There is no need to fear for me,
For it is my will and my duty to serve.
I will always carry your love with me,
As it helps steady my nerve.

There is no need to fear for me,
For even if I shall not return,
On that day I will meet Him.
His grace and forgiveness I will earn.

There is no need to fear for me,
For this is my calling and my choice.
I rise to protect our freedoms
And give Liberty her voice. – Randy Hunt 2013

Thank you for being here today. God bless our troops and God bless America.

Photos by Gerry Nye, Town Constable


  1. From one who served thank you Mr. Hunt for you words and reminder why our country is free today.

  2. Thank you, Randy, and God bless

  3. Memorial day parade remembering when the country get freedom. Good Posting Mr Randy

  4. It was a beautiful day and the Legion always does a nice job. Too bad again this year gays and lesbians were ignored for their service in defending this country. Many homosexuals have died fighting for freedom for America. Its time the local organization recognizes those brave warriors as well.

    1. Tobin, you were honest and upfront leaving your name. That is a sign of someone who not only is not afraid of what they believe but put down there name when the post.

    2. I tried that once. You'd be surprised at the hurtful things people write about you. Not to mention your name ends up on Google Search for the rest of your life.

  5. Memorial Day is day to remember those who lost their lives in the name of freedom for our country, period. These men and women are Americans first, soldiers second, and I don't see who they do in their bedroom should really matter. Unless you start praising heterosexuals, I don't see why you would praise a homosexual. We are all supposed to be equal and fair, right? Will everything be divided now in how people in general express themselves sexually? It does not define them as soldiers and never should. It's a wonderful day for these men and women to be recognized for what they do, not who they do. Stop with this odd attempt to further divide us into categories. We are Americans. They were soldiers. We honor them, period.

    1. Anonymous 8:18, you are an ignorant ass. Read your first sentence "Memorial Day is day to remember those who lost their lives in the name of freedom for our country, period." The read Mr. Wirt's post. It states "It was a beautiful day and the Legion always does a nice job." He further writes "too bad gays and lesbians were ignored for their service in defending this country" Over the years, I have heard and seen stories of families of the hero servicemen and their families, but never have I seen stories of gays or lesbians and their partners or spouses. I have seen stories of black, native American, Catholic, Protestant, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Irish, Italian, Arab, Greek, etc., etc. who have died for me and my family, but never a gay. Gays are people, they are not asking for special treatment but rather equal treatment. I for one look forward to better understanding of where the heroes come from and about their lives and families. Frankly, its not about their persuasion makes them what they are, but like all those other groups, they deserve to be honored for who they are as protecting our freedom and allowing all of us to make statements on forums such as this. Even you.

    2. What's wrong with my first sentence? Did someone change the meaning of Memorial Day? I absolutely honor and respect them. More than you will ever know. Again, I honor their actions in war, their families left behind,, the sorrow they feel, and the pride they hold not just on Memorial Day, but every day. What makes you think I don't? We are all Americans, we all have pride, we all serve our country one way or another. I'm glad about the new policy in the armed forces for more openness about homosexuality. But to drag it out and mention it separately from others isn't making the somber point of memorializing the fallen and their families. Gays have made great progress and I'm happy for them. But how far does it have to go? Is it the only way to define them? I would hope not. Is my being a heterosexual all that defines me? Is Gay-American going to be new on all the forms and check boxes? African-American, German-American, Irish-American, Jewish-American, Mexican-American, French-American, Catholic-American, Agnostic-American, etc. and now Gay-American? No wonder we are so divided as a country, nobody is willing to just bite the bullet and be a plain old ordinary American. Everybody thinks they're special. But if you're going to name call me "ignorant ass" I would have to add you to the list above and categorize you in the newly popular "Condemn Anyone Who Disagrees With Me-American." Too bad there's getting to be more and more of your type doing your part in keeping us absolutely divided.

  6. To 818 I would like to thank you for your words of wisdom in defining Americans. They were all solders and we honored them.

    Every one who served our country with honor did so because of the American spirit deep in the souls of each of us that cries out for justice and the democratic rule of life.

    It make no difference if they are black, yellow,native American, white, What ever religious belief, ethinic origin, gay or not.

    When we honor those who served and died for our country, we honor the sacrifice they made as Americans.

    The flag presented to each fallen heros family is Red,White and Blue and it has a significant meaning that holds true no matter who or what you believed in. I would suggest some take the time to investigate this meaning.

    They were all Americans first and foremost and lets keep it that way.

    1. Don'y forget to read 11:36 and then re-read the post from Mr. Wirt, then perhaps you will see what he meant to say. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but maybe he thought that since women and blacks were mentioned, there might have been room for a gay or lesbian. Over the years I have heard stories of many different people identified by race, ethnicity, but never by sexual persuasion. America lost a lot when they did not allow gays and lesbians in the Services. For those who served anonymously, their story should come out. Maybe the story of one, and I am sure there are many, who lost their life for all of us. Let's not make a big deal out of talking about our differences. It enhances the respect we given our fallen warriors and it certainly does not detract.

  7. Women and blacks were specifically mentioned Mem. Day, including comments from Travis Andrade.

    1. And now we know the rest of the story. Thank you 6/6 @11:36.
      It appears that if some of the comments concerning celebrating Memorial Day need not have any mention of Lesbians and Gays, then perhaps the speaker(s) might have mentioned gays. You know Tobin, maybe next year. Hopefully.

    2. I would say to Tobin, yes, about next year, but would not use maybe. I think your post was out front and will certainly bring out a statement or two about Lesbians and Gays and the bravery fighting for us and keeping our nation safe and our freedoms intact. Thank you Tobin. Just wish the year would go faster so that I might enjoy. Can't believe the local rags have not mentioned this.

  8. Mr. Hunt! Is this thing on? Have you fallen off the internet?

    Hope everything is well with you and yours.


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