To the Editor:
On behalf of the Gardens at Gethsemane, I wanted to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who attended the 44th Annual Memorial Day Service with a special tribute to the POW–MIA effort. We greatly appreciated the hundreds of people who took time out of their Memorial Day weekend to say “thank you” to all who gave their lives for our country and for those who serve today. The community has made this service a tradition that is very important to so many as we stop and give thanks to our veterans.
So many wonderful people need to be thanked for their part in making the Memorial Day Service at the Gardens special, including the family of Lance Corporal Paul Reid who was the first Marine from West Roxbury to give his life for our country during the Vietnam War 44 years ago. Appreciation is offered to Paul’s family, including his sister, Gail Sprague and husband Carl, who placed the Memorial Wreath at the Garden of Honor and to Richie Gormley who was one of Paul’s childhood friends.
We are honored to work with the West Roxbury VFW Post 2902 who conducts the Service at the USS Constitution Cannon: Commander Richard Gormley, USMC, Gormley Funeral Home, Officer of the Day, Richard Cook, US Army, Senior Vice Commander Frank Farry, US Army, Junior Vice Commander Jack Morrissey, US Army, Quartermaster John Sullivan, USMC, Chaplain Jim Roberts, US Army and Joan Broderick, President, Ladies Auxiliary.
We are always grateful for the participation of the Boston Police Department Honor Guard and the 1st Battalion 25th Marines who offered a 21-Gun Salute. Appreciation is sent to Master Sergeant Daniel McMorrow, USMC, BPD and Master Sergeant Michael Gormley, USAF and BFD for their participation. It’s always great to see former Police Commissioner and Boston City Councillor Mickey Roache who serves as Suffolk County Register of Deeds. He is one of our favorite Marines!
We were glad to have state Senator Mike Rush, Lieutenant in the US Navy home with us this year to serve, in person, as Keynote Speaker at the Service. Hard to believe Mike participated last year while in Iraq, thanks to the wonders of technology.
Appreciation is sent to State Representative Ed Coppinger who offered a few words and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. We offer sincere gratitude to Paul Keough from the City of Boston Veteran’s Services, representing Commissioner Francisco Urena. For years, Paul has been a great friend of this service and has offered invaluable advice and assistance.
We are indebted to our elected and government officials and other agencies and organizations for their help, including Congressman Stephen Lynch and Bob Fowkes and Dan Lynch from his staff, Boston City Council President Steve Murphy and Tom McDonough from his staff. Many thanks to Ethos – AgeWell West Roxbury for helping us get the word out in the community.
We also were happy that Boston City Councillor Matt O’Malley and Suffolk County Clerk for Criminal Business Maura Hennigan sent good wishes to those in attendance. Although not able to attend, remarks were sent from US Senator Scott Brown. Thanks to representatives from our Military, Boston Police and Fire Departments, including Ladder 25 and the US Postal Services, Jack Sheridan, Honor Guard, Emerald Society of the Boston Police, and members of the Nicholas G. Beram Veterans Association of Boston for their attendance. Also sharing the day with us were Boston City Councillors John Connolly, Rob Consalvo, Felix Arroyo, Sal Lamatina, and Tito Jackson.
We were honored to have Maureen Dunn serve as our Guest Speaker. Maureen co-author with Associated Press reporter Melissa B. Robinson, “The Search for Canasta 404: Love, Loss and the POW/MIA Movement”, a moving account of losing her husband, Lieutenant Joseph P. Dunn, US Navy over the South China Sea during the Vietnam War and the frustration and heartache of trying to find out what happened to him. Maureen’s decades long mission to help families find out what happened to their loved ones who were prisoners of war or missing in action was instrumental in paving the way for the POW/MIA movement in the United States.
Many thanks to all the kind people from Rolling Thunder, MA Chapter 1 and their families who placed American Flags at the graves of veterans laid to rest at the Gardens at Gethsemane.
Sgt. Detective Timothy Horan, Boston Police Gaelic Column, Demetrios Tsaniklides, Jr., D & D Entertainment who sang beautiful patriotic songs including Proud to be an American, and the Mark Bacon Trumpeters provided exceptional music selections, including the US Navy Song, in honor of Lt. Joseph Dunn.
As always, we sent out thanks to Carlos Andrade who offered much-appreciated Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and pastries. Generous donors of time include Wendy Moore, Jean Long, Greg Moore, Beth Doris Gustin and Jimmy Peters.
Deep gratitude is extended to those whose help and whose help was key to the service: Zack Huffman from the West Roxbury Bulletin, Paul Feeney of the Boston City Paper, Julie Cohen from the West Roxbury Transcript, David Ertischek from the West Roxbury Patch, John Sullivan from The Shopper, Curtis Henderson, BNN, Sean Folan, the Sean Folan Show, Fox 25 and WBZ. Finally, I would like to thank Mary Mulvey Jacobson, West Roxbury Business and Professional Association and coordinator of the service.
We are always happy to see our friends and welcome all those who came to the Gardens at Gethsemane for the first time to participate in the Memorial Day Service. If you and your family have never attended this Memorial Day Service, I urge you to begin a family tradition by joining us next year for our 45th Anniversary. We can never sufficiently say “Thank You” to our brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and attending this or another Memorial Day Service is the perfect way to do so.
Alan J. MacKinnon, CCE
Gardens at Gethsemane