SWAMPSCOTT -- Patrick Burke wasn’t sure he was going to attend yesterday’s Veterans Day ceremony, even though his name is among the 70 listed on the new monument that was dedicated on Monument Avenue.
A senior master sergeant in the Air Force who served for two years in Afghanistan, Burke is certainly deserving of recognition. But he didn’t want to take away from the two names in the center of the monument that have come to symbolize the scope of this small town’s military sacrifice.
“It’s humbling,” Burke said. “But obviously, with Capt. Jennifer Harris and Jared Raymond up there, that’s the real big takeaway of this.”
The town yesterday honored Raymond and Harris, Swampscott natives who were killed five months apart in Iraq, as well as every other Swampscott resident who has enlisted in the military since Sept. 11, 2001.
The names, six dozen in all, are included on the new marble-and-stone monument that was unveiled under sunny skies in a ceremony attended by about 200 people, including relatives of Harris and Raymond.
The monument reflects the town’s tradition of listing the names of living soldiers, as well as of those who have been killed in action, on all of its war memorials, said Jay Stinson, commandant of the Jennifer J. Harris Marine Corps Detachment based at the VFW in Swampscott.
The monument is located between the Vietnam War and Korean War memorials along Monument Avenue, the town center overlooking the ocean that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
The monument is titled “Swampscott Global War on Terror Honor Roll.” In the middle, under a gold star and the inscription, “In honor of those residents who made the ultimate sacrifice,” are the names of Raymond, a U.S. Army specialist who was killed on Sept. 19, 2006, and Harris, a Marine Corps captain who was killed on Feb. 7, 2007.
The names of 70 other soldiers from the town are listed on each side, with room to add more.
Jackie Raymond, Jared’s mother, called the monument “beautiful” and “breathtaking.”
“It’s nice to see that people still remember,” she said. “A lot of Jared’s friends that are currently serving are on that monument. It’s a nice, close-knit town.”
Jared Raymond was 20 when he was killed by a roadside bomb. His grandmother, Agnes Raymond; his brother, Jimmy; and cousin Jimmy Raymond also attended the ceremony.
Ray Harris, Jennifer’s father, marveled at all the town has done for his family since his daughter, a 28-year-old helicopter pilot, died when her helicopter was shot down just days before she was scheduled to come home.
“This is hard for us,” Ray Harris said, referring to him and his wife, Rosalie, who was also in attendance. “It’s been six years since Jennifer passed away. A lot of people have done a lot for us.”
Burke, the Marine master sergeant, looked over the monument after the ceremony with his grandfather, Joseph Burke. Patrick Burke said his grandfather, who served in World War II, inspired him to join the military.
“I hope the names on the monument will inspire the next generation,” he said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.