The following is a press release from the Baker-Polito administration:
BOSTON – Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant and Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña came together to celebrate the service of Massachusetts veterans and servicemembers at the Commonwealth’s official Veterans Day ceremony at the State House.
“Veterans Day is a special opportunity to honor our brave servicemembers and their families who have made incredible sacrifices to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly,” said Gov. Baker. “Today we thank all our nation’s veterans and their families for their commitment, courage, and selflessness and encourage all residents of the Commonwealth to find a way to pay their respects in their communities.”
Massachusetts continues to be recognized as a national leader in the services offered to veterans and their families. The Commonwealth and the nation will forever be indebted to these individuals for their selfless bravery, honor, and everything they sacrificed in order to protect our freedom and liberty.
“Today we recognize and thank all who answered the call to serve our great nation in the name of liberty and freedom,” Secretary of the Department of Veterans Services Francisco Ureña. “We proud of the commitment Massachusetts has made on so many levels to ensure our veterans receive the support and gratitude they have earned.”
The Keynote Speaker was Captain Joyce C. (Olson) Massello, United States Air Force veteran (Retired).
A POW/MIA Ceremony was conducted including a candle lighting ceremony lead by Tim Sullivan, Cdr. USN (Ret.) Vietnam veteran and former POW. Massachusetts Gold Star Families were paid tribute with a rose presentation.
“Our veterans deserve our deepest thanks for their service and sacrifice for our country but also for their continued contribution to the Massachusetts workforce,” said Secretary of Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta “The unique skills which veterans bring to industries across the Commonwealth are helping to ensure that we remain among the best training and most productive in the world.”
The ceremony also included a 21-gun salute by the Massachusetts Army National Guard followed by Taps performed by the Commonwealth Brass Quintet.
“There is no institution on Earth that commands the depth of respect earned by the United States Military and its Veterans who selflessly served to afford our freedom,” said Major General Gary Keefe, Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “The courage, strength and resiliency demonstrated by our Nation’s military forces warrant our highest gratitude on Veterans Day and every day for both their wartime service, as well as wars and conflicts deterred by their unshakable vigilance.”
The Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) advocates on behalf of the nearly 365,000 veterans in Massachusetts, their families, and survivors. DVS works to secure federal compensation and other benefits for which veterans may be eligible. The Department also administers needs-based benefits program through Veterans’ Service Officers throughout Massachusetts and provides state funding to organizations offering homeless shelter, transitional housing, and outreach services to veterans.