Belmont honors veterans at Twin Pines Park


Rachel McCrea

Attendees gather at the Veteran’s Memorial in Twin Pines Park.

Rachel McCrea, Staff Writer

The late morning sun shines through the trees of Twin Pines Park in Belmont, dappling the stone of the Veteran’s Memorial. The haunting notes of a bagpipe quiver in the air. It is Nov. 12, 2018, and the community of Belmont is gathered to honor their military veterans.

This was the second annual Veteran’s Day Event, a year and a day since the Veteran’s Memorial was installed in the park. The curving, graceful memorial bears the words “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”

The ceremony began with a speech from retired Major General Joseph Fil Jr. Having retired in 2012 after 36 years of service, he commended the sacrifice and dedication of the nation’s soldiers.

“[Veteran’s Day] is an opportunity to honor all of those who have gone before us, who are serving now and will serve — people who are brave enough, courageous enough, serious enough, to raise their right hand and enlist in service to their nation,” General Fil said.

The event was attended by a United States color guard, which included members of Boy Scout pack 83. After General Fil’s speech, the guard performed a solemn salute and departed in formation. Heads turned as a piper, Brian, began to play “Amazing Grace.”

The piper himself had come from a military family.

“My mom was in the Nurse Corps in World War 2,” said Brian, who chose not to reveal his last name. “My father was in World War 2 also, [along with his brothers]. My twin brother was [in the military] too. My grandfather was in World War 1. So it means a lot to me.”

After the color guard had disappeared from view, the crowd slowly dispersed, many staying to pay their respects at the Fallen Comrade Table. Containing a snuffed candle, a lemon, a single rose, and salt, this tradition honors the soldiers who never came back.

Khai Kober, who participated in the color guard as part of Boy Scout pack 83, said, “My great-granddad was a B-17 pilot during World War 2. My grandpa also fought in Vietnam. Respecting those who fought and possibly gave their lives [is really important].”

Ultimately, the main purpose of the event was to allow people to pay their respects to veterans of both the past and future.

“Across America today, in groups large and small, people are gathering to honor veterans,” General Fil said. “It’s a special day for the United States.”

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