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ABOUT TOWN: Stoughton's Veterans Receive Weekend Salute

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

STOUGHTON SALUTES ITS VETERANS: The Veterans Day Parade began exactly at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 11 from VFW Post 1645 on Washington Street. The Town Hall ceremony started about 15 minutes later, and featured the patriotic music of the award-winning Stoughton High School Marching Band, an excellent speech by Stoughton Veterans Agent and Vietnam Veteran Mike Pazyra, and a wreath laying at the Memorial Bell.

Of course, there was also the reading of the names of every Stoughton soldier who gave their lives for their country in America's wars. World War II veteran Charlie Large, who has been reading the names for many years, is ailing and living in a Norwood nursing facility. Stepping in was retired Veterans Agent and Vietnam Vet Paul Flynn.

Subbing for Flynn on the steps of Town Hall, and yelling, "Absent Sir!" as the names were read, was Stoughton Grave's Officer Mike Beaudette. Ringing the bell as each name was called was Air Force veteran Tom Hunt.

Stoughton Selectmen Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh also addressed the Town Hall crowd. Other politicians in attendance included Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone, Steve Anastos and Bob O'Regan, School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, and Town Moderator Howard Hansen.  

Pazyra spoke about the meaning of Veterans Day (which is to thank all those who have served in the armed forces, as opposed to Memorial Day, which salutes those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.)

He said that "In the past 11 years, more than 1.5 million Veterans have served in the combat theaters of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. Since September 11, 2001, nearly 3 million Veterans have departed the military, having fulfilled their duty to our nation." He added that today, in 2012, "less than 1% of Americans wear the uniforms of our Nation," And reminded those attending the parade that "our rights and privileges as American citizens are our Veteran's gifts to each of us."

He spoke about the history of each branch of service (Saturday was the 237th birthday of the Marines.) He also spoke about the Vietnam War (its 50th anniversary was also this past weekend), and due to the unpopularity of that conflict, how our soldiers were treated with contempt back then, and "draft dodgers" were saluted, instead of scorned.

Times have changed, though. Pazyra said, "I think our Vietnam Veterans, the largest single group of Veterans in the country today, now have the honor and respect they earned starting 50 years ago."  

After the Town Hall ceremony, the parade then reformed on Pearl Street and proceeded back through the square to Faxon Veterans Memorial Park (across from the library near the Charles Large Gazebo) for two ceremonies at the two memorials there. The parade then proceeded down Walnut Street to Washington Street and back to the VFW for a collation, where hot dogs, salad and beans were served.

Participants in the parade included local veterans, the VFW Color Guard and Firing Detail, the Stoughton High School Marching Band, the 12th MA Volunteer Infantry, the Police and Fire Departments, Town and State Officials, Scouts and more. David Sheehan of the Norfolk County Sheriff's office volunteered his time, as well.

Noticeably absent were the Stoughton Police Honor Guard, but for a good reason... they are helping out the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.

Take a look at pictures from the parade in the gallery (photos #2-10).

A full parade photo gallery can be found here.

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A SALUTE TO VETERANS: A large throng of soldiers feasted on roast beef and were saluted for their service to our country on Saturday, November 10 at the VFW Post 1645 in Stoughton Center.

There were special cakes, celebrating the 237th birthday of the Marines, and the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Vietnam war. They were served (and enjoyed) by all of those in attendance.

Among those in the crowd were: Charlie Wade, former Commander of the VFW Post 1645 and Stoughton's American Legion. Entertainers Stephen Berardinelli and Ellen Curran of Musical Rendezvous, who hosted the event; Stoughton Veterans Agent Mike Pazyra, Amvets Commander Bernie Planeta, and Retired Sgt. Major James Kelly, founder of Military Friends, were also among those in the crowd.

And, there was a P.O.W. Table, which is symbolic for remembering those who have not come home, yet have not been declared as casualties of war.

Take a look at photos from this event in the media gallery (photos #11-22).

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FOOD & FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The Stoughton Council on Aging, in cooperation with the Stoughton Veterans Services Office and Military Friends, presented a delicious breakfast and a healthy serving of information to Stoughton veterans on November 9 at the Stoughton Senior Center.

COA Director Karen Hall welcomed the 50 or so guests. Jerry and Sylvia Miller sang "God Bless America" and everyone sat and ate some eggs, potatoes, french toast, bacon, and sausage, which was provided at a reduced cost by Bob's Famous Foodmart.

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. stopped by to say a few words of welcome. Then, Stoughton Veterans Agent Mike Pazyra provided a myriad of information on veterans discount programs at restaurants and retailers, and went through a long list of benefits available to veterans and their widows. If you have served in the military, you may have money or other benefits due you.

Call Pazyra at Town Hall and make an appointment to see what might be available to you (781-341-1300, x9220/9221).

Sara Keller-Linkens, Executive Director of Military Friends, spoke about the organization, which honors fallen soldiers. She had a flag which was made of photos of every fallen soldier from Massachusetts, since September 11, 2001. She also spoke about the 2012 Run for the Fallen fundraiser.

Harvey Spack hosted a moment of reflections and an opportunity for all those present to introduce themselves. The late morning event was closed out by Teresa Tapper, who works for the Stoughton Youth Commission, and is part of a family with a long line of those who served in the military.

Take a look at photos from the breakfast in the media gallery (photos #23-33).

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CONGRATULATIONS to Stoughton's Beverly Kandler Dacey, who is now engaged to Bill DeTellis. Beverly is a Curry College grad, and the mother of five!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Fredda Frank of Stoughton. She works at New England Pawn. 

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HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY: To my Tanglewood neighbors, Alice and Amanda Siegel, both turned 30 on Saturday. Time flies. Years ago, they babysat my kids; to my old Randolph friend, Lisa Dean, who also now resides in Stoughton.  She is an Executive Assistant at Mass General Hospital in Boston. She celebrated Sunday; And, to Jacquie Campanello Benson, who celebrated on Sunday.  Her husband Jeff ran for town-wide office not long ago.

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