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Solemn ceremony salutes and celebrates local veterans

Plymouth’s Poet, Kate Donahue, reads from her original work “For Our Veterans” during observances at Town Hall on Friday morning, as Chaplain Leonard Sawyer and U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Plymouth Board of Selectmen Chairperson, Val Scarborough, looks on. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
November 16, 2011
PLYMOUTH—A large crowd assembled in front of Town Hall to greet the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" on a bright, brisk, windswept Veterans Day morning, to honor and salute all the many men and women who have served our country and our community wearing the uniform of the United States military.

It was a solemn ceremony, punctuated with moving musical tributes provided by the Baker Valley Band and the Plymouth Elementary School Band, under the direction of Don Williams.

Plymouth Select Board Chairperson and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Val Scarborough hosted the event, and welcomed all the many Plymouth veterans, family members, and supporters to the annual observances.

"We can all be proud of our community for coming together to honor our veterans for their patriotism, their willingness to serve and sacrifice for our country," said Scarborough. "This year, we share a sense of hope and joy as we look forward to the return of our service members who are coming home from Iraq."

As is traditional, Chaplain Leonard Sawyer gave the invocation, giving thanks for the blessings of peace and freedom that we enjoy in our community, and asking for blessings for our returning troops, that they may receive all the support they need, and have earned, to make a successful transition to civilian life.

Keynote speaker for the observance was Major John Boyle (USMC, ret.), who took time out to especially recognize all of Plymouth's veterans, including such local heroes as Daniel Berg, who, as a 17-year-old Plymouth High School graduate, stormed the beaches at Normandy in WWII; Dave Moorhead, who braved the jungles of Vietnam; and Plymouth Police Chief Steve Temperino, who served in the sands of Kuwait 20 years ago during Desert Storm... as well as many, many others.

"We are so thankful for their service, and we are so proud of them," said Boyle. "They have defended those freedoms and liberties that are embodied in our founding documents — the freedom to assemble, to worship, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom to succeed or fail in business, to vote... and the list goes on. Today, we also celebrate all things American, those little things that we all love, like the high school prom, little kids' lemonade stands, our Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, baseball and football teams, hot dogs and apple pie ... and we remember that it is our veterans that have written the insurance policy that guarantees all of these things."

As always, Plymouth's Poet, PRHS teacher Kate Donahue, graced the gathering with a reading of her own original poetry, written for the occasion. This year she also read an original work, entitled "America's Pride," written by upcoming poet Noah Smialek, grandson of Don Smiale, Sr.

The ceremonies ended with a rousing rendition of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" by the Baker Valley Band.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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