SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

November 14, 2012

True honors for veterans

The sun broke out and the weather turned balmy just in time for a moving ceremony Sunday morning in Swampscott, where military, veteran and town leaders unveiled a monument to those who have served in the military since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In particular, it memorializes the sacrifices of Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, killed while piloting a helicopter in Iraq in 2007, and Army Spc. Jared Raymond, killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. But it also honors the courage and selflessness of all those who serve, putting their lives on the line to keep this country safe.

The new memorial, a tasteful stone structure bearing individual soldiers’ names, takes its place along the town’s beautiful Monument Avenue, where there are also tributes to the soldiers in other wars.

Veterans were honored this weekend throughout the North Shore, with parades, ceremonies, speeches, commemorative medals and, in Peabody, a thank-you breakfast for some 300 veterans. Sometimes it seems so little that we do. Surely, if the words we speak on Veterans Day are sincere, we must follow that up with better care for wounded soldiers, counseling and preventive mental health services for those suffering from trauma, jobs programs for veterans, and aid to families of deployed soldiers.

In the meantime, though, ceremonies such as the one in Swampscott let everyone know — soldiers, veterans and the families of those who gave their lives — that their sacrifices will not be forgotten.

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