A Responsibility to Remember

May 25, 2020
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A Memorial Day Message from Justice For Vets Director Scott Tirocchi

Each year, my small New England town of about 4,000 has a Memorial Day parade. Participants will typically “step off” promptly at 8:30 a.m. Led by a color guard, we watch local marching bands, youth scouting organizations, and veterans from the local American Legion Post. Close behind them will be the 4H Club, followed by members of the town council and school committee. Next, the volunteer ambulance corps and the police department. And finally, the volunteer fire department will proceed by. From start to finish, the parade takes about 25 minutes, and the entire route is just under half a mile.

As the parade moves, so too will the spectators. Both participants and spectators alike will end up gathering en masse in the town center. When there is a general sense that everyone is present, a lull will pass over the crowd, and the organizer of the event will cue the band to play the national anthem and, once complete, lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. A prayer will be spoken by a member of the clergy. Then a local veteran will say a few solemn words, share a story based in sacrifice, and request a moment of silence to honor those who died in the service of this country. A wreath will be laid at the base of the granite veterans memorial. The sounding echo of “Taps” played off in the distance by a local high school student will conclude the event. The gathering will soon disperse.

My family and I are going to miss this year’s Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony, which has been canceled because of the pandemic. For many of you, your usual Memorial Day public activities will be canceled, too. I wanted to share my town’s tradition with all of you because, despite this national crisis, we have a responsibility to remember. By describing my annual event, perhaps you can picture it unfolding this Memorial Day, or think of ceremonies you have been part of in the past. This year, Memorial Day will be different than any other. These ceremonies may not occur in real time, but nothing can stop the remembrance in our hearts; a tradition that pays homage to those service men and women who died while serving this nation. We will never forget them.

Have a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.

Sincerely, Scott Tirocchi
Director, Justice For Vets

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