Veterans honored at flag pinning ceremony
On November 11, nearly 20 Dartmouth veterans were honored with American flag pins at a special Veterans Day ceremony for residents of the Cottages at Dartmouth Village assisted living facility.
The Slocum Road facility also held a special breakfast for veterans and their spouses as part of the celebrations, and musician Dave Manuel from Rhode Island entertained guests with patriotic songs such as ‘America the Beautiful,’ ‘The U.S. Air Force Song,’ and the national anthem on his piano.
Dartmouth Veterans Advisory Board Chair Chris Pereira — himself a veteran of Afghanistan who is still serving in the Air Force and Air National Guard — handed out the pins during the ceremony.
He said he’s fairly busy around town on Veterans Day.
“This is the most satisfying [event] for me,” he said. “Because any time that I can spend time with older vets that have been through what they’ve been through is really special.”
“I kind of like to think of it as our generation kind of stands on their shoulders,” he added.
“The tactics and engagement and those kinds of things can change, but what always stays constant is the unwavering devotion to honor, duty, country, family, your faith, all those things that are kind of the bedrock of our country — they embody them, and they defend them.”
Veteran Leonard Quintin received a pin from Pereira during the ceremony for his time served in the Vietnam War.
The Middleboro native was stationed in Da Nang with the air force when he had to be evacuated due to a kidney stone that required an operation and several blood transfusions.
In the intensive care unit, he said, it was “very very very tough.”
“Every other day they’d bring in the wounded from Vietnam,” he said. “And one day they brought one in next to me. And he starts crying, ‘Mama, mama, my legs hurt me.’ He didn’t have any legs. I still can hear him. I mean, he’s a grown man, but he’s crying for his mama.”
Quintin added, “Fifteen would come in, the next day thirteen or fourteen would go out. Two would not make it.”
During the war he was exposed to Agent Orange and was left with a progressive lung disease known as COPD along with anxiety and depression.
And although his experience left him disabled, he said, he still considers himself lucky.
“I’m one of the very very few in here that can get up and walk by myself,” he finished. “So I’m fortunate.”
During the ceremony, Pereira thanked the veterans as well as the family members that supported them from home.
“I want to thank all of you personally,” he said. “You have laid the groundwork for us, you have paved the road. You’ve done everything that’s been necessary to keep our country free.”