Photo: Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart saluting the flag during the National Anthem.
Speaking before Purple Heart recipients and residents on Friday, Belmont Asst. Police Chief James MacIsaac told the story of three young Belmont residents who died in defense of their country.
James Paul White (whom the White Field House is named after) killed in 1944 and friends Teddy Lee and Donny Ray who died in Vietnam were just three of hundreds of Belmont residents from the Civil War to Afghanistan whose “stories needed to be told to ensure that the residents of Belmont never forget the young people from Belmont who have answered the call to war time and time again,” said MacIsaac.
It was on that theme of sacrifice for the country that on Friday, April 22, in front of Belmont Public Library with the Belmont Hill School’s a capella group The B-flats singing the National Anthem; Belmont was formally recognized as a Purple Heart Community by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Belmont’s Veteran Services Agent, Bob Upton received a plaque from officers of the Order before veterans, town officials, residents and the handful of Belmontians who were honored with the medal in defense of the country. Belmont is now one of 86 municipalities which “shows our appreciation to our combat wounded, Purple Heart recipients.”
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members.
In his keynote speech, MacIsaac told the story of a message that was reportedly found in an old sentry box in Gibraltar.
“God and the soldier all men adore, in a time of trouble and no more. For when war is over and all things righted, God is neglected, and the old soldier is slighted.”
“It’s a timeless quote that I think we can all agree has some truth to it,” said MacIsaac.
“That’s why I think it is important for the cities and towns that make up this nation to make an effort to remember and recognize those that served and those that were wounded or killed in action in the service of their country,” he said.
“I’m very happy that Belmont has made a step, by being designated a Purple Heart Community, that will help ensure that our old soldiers are not slighted but remembered for their service to our town and country, and I’m honored to partaking in this morning’s ceremony,” said MacIsaac.