Originally published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune.
Ten veterans living at Methuen Village were honored Thursday for their service with citations and pins from the city in an early celebration of Veterans Day. Mayor Neil Perry said it was the third time he has attended the event and it is one of his favorite things to do as mayor.
“I’m going to say the same thing I said the last two years and I hope you take the words to heart,” Perry said. “It’s often easy in this day in age with so much acrimony, especially in the national capital, to forget who we are and what we are. So I would urge you, thank these people in the room with you, because these veterans fought for the very freedoms that we enjoy.”
Deborah Cabral, EnrichedLIFE director at Methuen Village, opened the event with a prayer calling for “an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace as a way to honor all the veterans of the past wars.” Army veteran Robert DuPont led the crowd in pledging allegiance to the flag before the citations were awarded.
After the event, the crowd sang “God Bless America,” which they delivered spontaneously after a sound system failed to play a recording of the song. “We all know the words,” DuPont said.
DuPont said he served in World War ll as a private first class in Europe and Africa after enlisting when he was 18. “I came from Pepperell,” DuPont said. “I was a hick.” He said he enjoyed Thursday’s event, which included plenty of refreshments, and that it was gratifying to be recognized. “I appreciate anything they can do,” DuPont said.
Veterans Elizabeth Leonard and Barbara Kelleher served as nurses in the Navy and Army, respectively. “I went in almost half way through 1951 and I came out in late 1952,” Kelleher said. “Korean War. I was six months in San Francisco at Letterman Hospital and then I went to Pusan and I was there for over a year.” Kelleher, a Methuen native, said she enjoyed the ceremony and appreciated receiving a citation.
The veterans honored Thursday were: Clifford Cyr, Army and National Guard; Lawrence D’Angelis, National Guard; William Despres, Air Force; Robert DuPont, Army; Barbara Kelleher, Army; Elizabeth Leonard, Navy; Robert McCarthy, Navy; David Steiner, Army; Ray Stephens, Army; and George Tieri, National Guard.