Damp Conditions Did Not Deter Memorial Day Parade, Ceremony

Photo: At Belmont Cemetary, Memorial Day

The forecast of steady rain held off long enough for Belmont to remember the residents who gave their lives for the country as residents came out to march and attend the annual Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration Ceremony at Belmont Cemetary on Monday, May 30.

Despite the forecast, a good number of residents gather along Trapelo Road, Belmont and Grove streets to see and cheer on veterans, color guards, representatives from the police and fire departments, the mixed marching bands from Belmont High and Chenery Middle schools, boy and girl scouts and lots of kids riding on a flatbed truck who traveled the 1.1 miles from Cushing Square to the corner of Grove Street and Huron Avenue.

At the cemetery, the commemoration of the day was celebrated by a proclaimation from Bay State Gov. Baker read by State Sen. Will Brownsberger and a speech by Belmont Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Williams, a Viet-nam Era Navy veteran.

“… [W]e honor our dead, not as fallen heros instead as warriors who sacrificed all defending our precious freedoms which are truely universal. timeless and inspired, as Emerson so poetically declared, “that waft the breath of grace divine.”

The day’s main speaker was Col. Mike Callanan, USMC (ret.), a Belmont native (Belmont High class of 1988) who served as the leader of a combat engineer battalion which made several deployments to the Middle East.

Callanan honored all those Belmont residents who took up arms as volunteers or those drafted into the military and died fighting for the country since the Civil War, serving in all branches of the armed services. He asked that every resident speak to a child about the meaning of Memorial Day, especially since “they are just one generation” away from possibly serving themselves. 

“I ask that each of you rededicate your efforts to focus current conversations not on what divides us but what actually unities us. And that is we are all Americans,” he said.

Noting the noise of children playing in the Grove Street Playground across from the cemetary, Callanan said “that’s what freedom sounds like. That’s worth defending. That’s what we will loss if brave men and women don’t continue to stand up and defend it.”

“Believe me, there are a lot of bad people out there that want to take that very sound away from us at every opportunity.” 

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