Officials honor hometown heroes with first ever Veterans Day ceremony
Dozens of masked military veterans and town officials gathered at the Council on Aging on Nov. 11 to honor American service members on Veterans Day.
Starting this year, Dartmouth began a new holiday tradition with a socially distanced ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Grove outside the senior center.
The tribute, hosted by the Veteran’s Advisory Board, began with the playing of "Reveille" by Dartmouth High band member Zach Pereira and the singing of the national anthem by DHS senior Emerson Clark, followed by some brief remarks from Veterans Advisory Board chair Chris Pereira.
“It is the veteran who endures, thrives and is the wall between freedom and tyranny,” he said. “Our constitutional republic exists because of our veterans.”
Select Board member David Tatelbaum spoke next, highlighting his father’s service during World War II and how important the Veterans Memorial Grove is to him.
“This grove provides us a place we can go to and honor [our veterans],” he said. “I consider this to be hallowed ground that gives us the opportunity to sit and contemplate and honor the people here — past and present.”
Fellow board member Stanley Mickelson also gave a few remarks, going over the history of the holiday following the armistice that ended of the first World War in 1918.
“World War I ended on the eleventh month, eleventh day, and the eleventh hour,” Mickelson said. “It’s very interesting how all those numbers come together.”
To end the town’s first ever Veterans Day ceremony, Veterans Service Officer Matthew Brouillette read out Gov. Charlie Baker’s official holiday proclamation followed by the playing of "Retreat."
“Today’s event turned out really well, even if I felt a few droplets there for a second,” Brouillette laughed. “It was a very fitting tribute.”
Former town Veterans Service Officer and 23-year Air Force service member Roy Oliveira agreed, noting that he was “very touched” that the town is “finally doing its own Veterans Day ceremony.”
“We usually join with the city of New Bedford as part of their annual Veterans Day parade — so this is a nice change,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing this happen every year here.”
Going forward, Brouillette and Pereira hope to increase the amount of veterans events once the pandemic is under control and are both looking forward to next year’s ceremony and continued collaboration with town officials.
“This is a town that’s very patriotic and civic-minded,” Pereira said. “It’s great how supportive Dartmouth is of its veterans.”