Gathering in Mattapoisett on Veterans Day 2021 were people who came to participate in various ways. There were the veterans whose personal experiences in service to the United States were etched on their faces. There were the young trying their best to do their part in the solemnity of the moment. And there were the young adults about to begin their lives’ adventures, some of whom plan military careers. All came to Shipyard Park for one purpose: to remember.
Florence Eastman American Legion Post Commander Rachel Perron organized the November 11 event, bringing in members of the Northeast Maritime Institute where she is an instructor, as well as cadets from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, her alma mater. Standing shoulder to shoulder were Legion members. And members of Mattapoisett Boy Scout Troop 53 were also in attendance.
Perron orchestrated the event around the ringing of church bells or Bells Of Remembrance, which rang out from Center School and the Mattapoisett Congregational Church at precisely 11:00 am.
Legion Chaplain Richard Langhoff asked in prayer for blessing to all who served or are serving, that they might be healed, that mercy might be theirs and that one day in a creative vision there would no longer be war.
Tri-Town Veterans Agent Chris Gerrior’s comments were two-fold, first to honor Colin Powell, the first black U.S. Secretary of State who recently passed away, and secondly to share Powell’s 13 Rules for Leadership.
Through Powell’s words, Gerrior asked that we consider: “Things are not as bad as we think they are and will look better in the morning;” “Get mad, then get over it;” “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position fails your ego goes with it;” “Be careful what you choose, you may get it;” “Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision;” “You can’t make someone else’s choices, you shouldn’t let someone else make yours;” “Check the small things;” “Share credit;” “Remain calm, be kind;” “Have a vision, be demanding;” “Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers;” and , “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Gerrior added, “That’s good advice for when things get tough; we are all leaders in one way or another.”
In thanking various town departments that assisted in setting up the event including the Mattapoisett Police Department, Harbormaster Office, Highway Department and Town Administrator Mike Lorenco, Perron said we have a legacy of freedom that must remain secure and that we live in the greatest nation on earth.
In closing out the ceremony, Perron said, “Military service is generally temporary but can impact generations.”
By Marilou Newell