Sounds of bagpipes echoed through town Sunday morning as the annual Veterans Day parade stepped off from Nancy’s and made its way to Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs. Islanders gathered to honor friends, family, neighbors, and the thousands of men and women who have served their country.
Peter Hermann stood in front of an intimate audience. He began the service with a moment of silence in memory of the victims of Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks. After an opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, Oak Bluffs eighth grader Samantha Seidel-Aldrich-Moodie sang the national anthem.
Veterans agent Jo Ann Murphy thanked fellow veterans in the crowd, and highlighted the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day honors fallen soldiers; Veterans Day honors all U.S. military soldiers.
“All those who served advance American values and institutions,” Murphy said. “They continue to make a difference every day.”
The service concluded with the laying of a memorial wreath in front of the World War I and II remembrance stone.
Gregory Spain served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969. He said Sunday was a time to remember his friends — both the ones who did and didn’t make it back.
“I served with five guys I grew up with and went to school with,” Spain told The Times. “Only two of us made it back. This is a time to continue to take pride in our veteran brothers and sisters.”
A celebration at the VFW followed the parade and service.