Greenfield honors local veterans
The color guard leads the Veterans Day Parade down Federal Street in Greenfield on Monday.
Members of the Oak Ridge Detachment Honor Guard stand during ceremonied in Leyden.
Doris Glabach speaks of her brother, Harry Wilder, who died in World War II at the Leyden Veterans Day ceremonies.
Out going Veterans Agent Charles Loven address the crowd at the Greenfield Town Common during ceremonies on Monday.
Bill Glabach and his mother Doris Glabach lay a wreath at the commemeorative stone on the Leyden Town Common for their uncle and brother Harry Wilder who fell victim to WWII and never returned to the hills of Leyden.
The color guard leads the Veterans Day Parade ddown Main ST in Greenfield on Monday.
A child salutes the honor guard as they make their way to the Town Common on Main St on Monday.
GREENFIELD — Some were old and some were young, some stood on two legs, some weren’t walking yet and others were using wheelchairs, but everyone was there for the same reason — to honor veterans on the cool, crisp November morning.
“We come every year,” said Charles Carey of Greenfield, who attended Greenfield’s Veterans Day parade with his wife Donna and granddaughter Sophia Cacciolfi of Athol.
“I’m here to honor veterans,” said Cacciolfi. “They keep us free.”
Cacciolfi said she planned to take a video of the parade so her 8-year-old brother, who loves parades, could watch it later.
Donna and Charles Carey said they were happy to see about 100 people standing, like them, along Main Street to watch the parade.
“It’s the least we can do for our veterans,” said Donna Carey.
“An hour is nothing in return for what they have done for us,” said Charles Carey, who is a Vietnam veteran.
John Shippee of Buckland, who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force, said, from his wheelchair, that he never misses a chance to honor fellow veterans.
Shippee, who began serving at the end of World War II, served for 15 years.
“If it wasn’t for our military men and women, we wouldn’t have the freedom we have to watch this parade,” he said. “Nothing else keeps us free.”
Shippee said as a veteran he loves to see people come out and show their appreciation.
“It’s important to remember all of those who served, as well as the ones who lost their lives,” said Shippee. “We should all think about the sacrifices of these men and women and their families.”
Lynne Kelsey of Buckland, who served in the military during the Vietnam War, was dressed in red, white and blue on Monday morning. She said she was happy to see “such patriotism” along the streets of Greenfield.
“There was a time when it wasn’t this way,” she said. “Patriotism was very quiet during the Vietnam era. I’m glad to see people embracing it today.”
The parade, led by Greenfield police, rounded the corner of Federal and Main streets at about 10:15 on Monday morning and traveled down Main to Chapman Street. Then it turned around and ended on the Town Common. The town’s Fire Department also participated.
Veterans sporting proud smiles marched or rode in golf carts and waved to the crowd. Veterans groups carried flags and banners and Greenfield High School Marching Band provided the music to march by. Boy Scouts added some youthful exuberance.
The temperature had climbed into the 50s by the time the Town Common ceremony began.
New Greenfield Veterans Agent Timothy Niejadlik addressed his first Greenfield crowd and Charles Loven, who has been Greenfield’s veterans agent for about 22 years, said goodbye as he is preparing to retire by the end of the year.
“Today we recognize Veterans Day and the sacrifices of veterans and their families throughout the years,” said Mayor William Martin, a Vietnam veteran. “Today we all offer a slight token of appreciation by being here. I’m sure it is felt deeply by our veterans.”
Martin said Greenfield will continue to be at the forefront of Massachusetts towns and cities that take good care of their veterans.
After Martin’s words, the ceremony continued with the laying of the wreath, a gun salute, and the playing of Taps and the National Anthem. The Elks Club on Federal Street served light refreshments after the ceremony ended.