Belmont hosts Veterans Day ceremony

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Evan Wang

The ceremony’s guest of honor was Bob Donovan, a 100-year-old veteran of World War II.

An annual ceremony celebrating Veterans Day was organized by the City of Belmont in Twin Pines Park.

Among the attendees of Belmont’s Veterans Day ceremony was 100-year-old veteran Bob Donovan. Donovan, who fought in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, laid a wreath at Belmont’s veterans memorial to honor former military service members. The ceremony included an honor guard procession and a poem reading by Monica Korde, Belmont’s poet laureate.

The event was attended by local officials, veterans, and their families and is hosted every year by the City of Belmont to show support and respect for service members.

“This country has provided a lot of freedoms and opportunities to my family, and those freedoms were hard-fought. I want to recognize that and honor the sacrifices that others have made for the opportunities that we have today,” Parks and Recreation Director Brigitte Shearer said.

Due to pandemic restrictions, last year’s ceremony was hosted on Zoom. As the first ceremony held after the pandemic, organizers were pleased with the large turnout. According to Shearer, one of the event organizers, it demonstrated the community’s appreciation of military veterans.

“The attendance here today, I think, speaks to how we hugely respect the service and the sacrifices that veterans made,” Shearer said.

Despite the general respect for veterans, they can be controversial for their involvement in actions abroad. According to Belmont Mayor Charles Stone, it is essential to be grateful for the military despite political views.

“There are always going to be people who intermingle decisions about orders or foreign policy with the military. I still believe that the vast majority of Americans respect the military and honor those who serve,” Stone said.

According to Stone, the ceremony is important in treasuring and recognizing veterans’ service, which may be lost to some during peacetime.

“I think it’s incumbent on those of us who are in leadership positions to make sure that everyone understands why Veterans Day is special and why it’s important to honor those who step up,” Stone said.

State Sen. Josh Becker speaks to the audience. “I’m always impressed when I see a veteran, and I hear somebody say thank you for your service. It just shows the reverence we have,” Becker said. (Evan Wang)

Despite the day’s significance being diminished over the years, State Senator Josh Becker believes the community still shows respect for veterans.

“I’m always impressed when I see a veteran, and I hear somebody say thank you for your service. It just shows the reverence we have,” Becker said.

The unexpected attendance at the event demonstrated this reverence. In contrast to the online ceremony last year due to COVID, this year’s was held in a park with a lively audience.

“It was a tremendous ceremony today to have a 100-year-old veteran here in a beautiful park and that many veterans with us. It’s just really outstanding,” Becker said.