Despite a steady rain for most of the event, approximately 200 people stood in a circle at the veterans garden at Mashpee Community Park on Monday morning.
They gathered to remember the men and women who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. The group included veterans from World War II to Iraq, townspeople of all ages, elected officials, babies in carriages, and even a golden retriever in a red, white, and blue bandana.
Led by Edwin Theis, senior vice commander of the Mashpee Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5489, a parade featuring participants from the VFW, Ladies Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts marched into the garden at 10 AM.
Following a group sing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a group of musicians from the Mashpee Middle School performed “America The Beautiful.” A wreath was placed at the town’s veterans memorial monument by VFW
Auxiliary president Cheri Peters, and remarks were made by Mashpee Selectman John J. Cahalane, VFW Post 5489 Commander Rebecca J. Silva, and Jeffrey Romero, the new executive director of the Grace Veterans Center.
The annual event was more well-attended than it has been in previous years, and town manager Joyce M. Mason believes that the program will continue to grow, especially with enhancements and a redesign of Community Park scheduled to begin this summer.
“I thought the service was longer and nicer than in the past, and if we can get publicity about it earlier in future years, I’m hopeful that this will become an even bigger event. Hopefully we can maybe get the schools involved, and recruit more students to participate, perhaps even utilizing some of the great vocal talent we have in town to sing the national anthem and other songs,” she said.
Near the end of the observance, the crowd received a scare when three Boy Scouts participating in the event appeared to have fainted, requiring medical attention from the paramedics in attendance.
After the ceremony, Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo reported that the scouts did not require further treatment but had suffered from locked knees after standing at attention during the 30-minute ceremony.