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Letter to the Editor: Thank You to All Those Helped with Memorial Day Service

The 43 Annual Memorial Day Service at The Gardens at Gethsemane was held on Monday, May 30, 2011.

To the Editor: 

On behalf of the , I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who attended the and special tribute to the veterans and families of World War II.  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 Gardens at Gethsemane Memorial Day Service has grown over the years to 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 at Gethsemane 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 43 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. 

Grateful thanks are offered to VFW Post 2902 who conducted 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 Robert Ryan, US Army, BFD, 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.  Much appreciation to Master Sergeant Daniel McMorrow, USMC and Master Sergeant Michael Gormley, USAF for their participation.

Appreciation is offered to our Senator, Mike Rush, Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserves and currently deployed in Iraq.  Through the wonders of technology, we were able to have Mike “present” and serving as the Keynote Speaker at the Service offering inspirational remarks from Iraq.  We are grateful to his staff for helping us make this happen.  We were happy that Mike’s wife, Mary and their daughter, Ciara, were able to join us.   

Appreciation is sent to State Representative Ed Coppinger who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  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.  

We were honored to have Walter Ford Carter, author of “No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love” as our Guest Speaker.  His moving recounting of his journey to learn about his father, US Army doctor Norval Carter, who was killed in action in Normandy during WW II when Walter was only 4 years old.  City Councilors Matt O’Malley, Rob Consalvo and Councilor-at-Large John Connolly presented a Resolution Co-Sponsored by Council President Steve Murphy congratulating Walter Carter for his moving and heart-wrenching book about his father.          

Many thanks to West Roxbury’s US Army Recruiting Office: SFC Edward J. O’Gara and members of his staff who placed American Flags at the graves of veterans laid to rest at the Gardens at Gethsemane.

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, Commissioner Eugene Vaillancourt and Deputy Commissioner Paul Keough from the City of Boston Veterans Services, who were of tremendous assistance, Thanks also to US Senator Scott Brown who was unable to personally attend but sent Maria Coakley from his staff to present Citations to Richie Gormley and me.  Thanks to Ethos Development Director Brigid Boyle and the West Roxbury YMCA for their technical assistance. 

Sgt. Detective Timothy Horan, Boston Police Gaelic Column, Demetrios Tsaniklides, Jr., D & D Entertainment who sang so many beautiful patriotic songs including Proud to be an American, and the Mark Bacon Trumpeters provided exceptional music selections, including the US Army Song, in honor of Dr. Norval Carter. 

As always, we sent out thanks to Carlos Andrade who offered much-appreciated Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and pastries.

Generous donors of time include Marion Kelly, District Vice President, YMCA, Maureen Hegarty, Janice Kenneally, Dr. Les Hirsch, Paul Hubrich, Beth Doris Gustin, Joyce Buckley, Pat and Phyllis Porter, Clayton Hewitt, and Lenny and Frederick Rivers. 

Deep gratitude is extended to those whose help and service was key to the service:  Eunice Davis, John DeMotte, Marcos Costa, the Gardens at Gethsemane staff, including all who helped with parking, Lorne Giroux, Rental Depot, West Roxbury Patch, Paul Feeney of the Boston City Paper, John Sullivan from The Shopper, Curtis Henderson, BNN, Sean Folan, the Sean Folan Show and WBZ.  Finally, I would like to thank Mary Mulvey Jacobson, West Roxbury Business and Professional Association and coordinator of the service.

We were inspired by all those who attended, including an impressive number of “first timers.”  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.  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.

Caring Forever,

Alan J. MacKinnon, CCE

President

Gardens at Gethsemane

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