ROCKPORT HONORS VETERANS AT TODAY’S LEGION HALL CEREMONIES
Beginning with a stirring salute to the armed forces performed by the Legion Band, Rockport’s annual Veteran’s Day ceremonies filled the Edward Peterson Post #98 American Legion Hall this morning with a large gathering of local veterans and their families, neighbors, and friends. Master of Ceremonies Michael Silva, U.S. Army (Ret.) reminded the audience that while Veterans Day is a solemn occasion it is also a time for remembrance, celebration, and thanks. Barbara Paradis, President of the Legion Auxiliary, spoke for a grateful community as she thanked all veterans, and those on active duty, for their service and sacrifice. She also reminded the gathering of the sacrifices made by the family members and loved ones of service men and women back home.
Students from the Pingree School presented hand drawn “Thank-you” cards to all veterans present at the ceremonies, and later delivered dozens more to Cape Ann veterans residing in area nursing and rehabilitation facilities.
Post Commander Melvin Olson, Jr. shared the story of the extraordinary heroism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WW II. Earlier this month the 442nd, which consisted of Japanese-American volunteers, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, together with two other units also comprised of Japanese-American soldiers. According to msnbc.com, ‘The 442nd experienced some of the most horrific fighting in Europe and became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service. In just 10 months of combat, more than 700 were killed or listed as missing in action’The 442nd fought in eight major campaigns in Italy, France and Germany. One of the units attached to the 442nd was the 100th Infantry Battalion, which was comprised exclusively of Japanese-Americans from Hawaii who had been drafted prior to Pearl Harbor’. They received the nickname the Purple Heart Battalion because of the tremendous number of casualties they endured. The motto of the 442nd was ‘go for broke’.’
Captain Earl Kishida, U.S. Navy (Ret.) then introduced the day’s keynote speaker, Lt. Colonel Robert Visnick, U.S. Air Force Reserve. Lt. Colonel Visnick, a Rockport resident, attorney, and Town Moderator, also serves our nation in the JAG unit based at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford. With permission, we now share with our readers Col. Visnick’s Veteran’s Day remarks in their entirety: