Published in the November 19, 2015 edition
By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — About 200 local residents and their children turned out at the Batchelder School gymnasium on a cold and rainy Veterans’ Day to show respect and appreciation for all of those who served in the nation’s Armed Forces in peace time and in war throughout U.S. history.
North Reading’s Veterans’ Day ceremonies always show a strong community flair. With North Reading High School senior Carol–Ann Nitzsche acting as Mistress of Ceremonies, there was equal participation by the NRHS Marching Band, local Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies and Camp Fire as well as town officials and clergy. Ashtyn Parker–McDermott and Hugo Wiberg played Taps.
Guest speakers of the day were Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto, Selectmen Robert Mauceri and Jeff Yull and the featured speaker of the day, SSGT Amy Conti of the U.S. Army National Guard.
Mauceri read Gov. Charlie Baker’s official proclamation of Veterans’ Day. “We as a compassionate nation must work together to assist and guide” our returning veterans, Mauceri said.
Yull said the nation should honor its veterans by honoring its pledge to provide them with needed services. “The veteran needs backup. We are it. They need a Veterans Administration that functions as efficiently and effectively as they did as a soldier. When backup was called a soldier came without excuses. They knew their purpose and fulfilled their pledge to protect. When a veteran goes to a VA hospital there should be no excuses when providing needed services. It is immoral to ask an American soldier to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and accept the consequences, because it was his or her duty, only to be put on hold, because of budget restraints and political indifference in Washington. D.C.” He ended by asking everyone in the gymnasium to shake the hand of a veteran.
T.A. Gilleberto spoke about the services offered by the town and urged veterans to take advantage of them.
“I can’t help but note the work town government is doing for our veterans day in and day out.” The Veterans Services Department offers many services as well as the Elder Services Department, he stated.
Rev. Rachel Fisher from the Aldersgate Methodist Church gave the invocation and the benediction and the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard from HQ Co. 25th Marine Regiment presented the colors while the North Reading Police Department Color Guard stood at attention throughout the ceremony.
The Speaker of the Day was local resident Amy Conti, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. National Guard, who urged veterans to “tell our stories” to become connected to the society and the citizens they serve.
“Veterans are part of the American story. Whenever our freedoms have been under assault, we have responded with strength, purpose and resolve.
“Today is a day of tribute and reflection, a day of celebration for all who served. Let us remember those who are deployed in the service of their country today and let us remember those who, because they made the ultimate sacrifice, are not with us.
“Now let us go celebrate our veterans and the liberties they ensure.”