Flags snapped in the cool, brisk breeze under a sunny sky as participants in the Martha’s Vineyard Veterans Day parade marched down Lake Avenue to Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs this morning.
The marchers gathered in front of the veterans’ memorial monument for a ceremony to pay tribute to those who have served our country, and to mark the day of the German signing of the Armistice that ended World War One at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918.
Guest speaker June Smyth of Coffs Harbour, Australia, gave a moving tribute to U.S. military personnel who came to her country’s aid in World II and the bonds the two countries continue to share.
“I have read that from 1941 over one million of your service personnel passed through our country,” she said. “So had you not stood beside us from 1941 onwards, we may have not have been standing here with you today on your soil and enjoying your landscapes, your company, and above all the peaceful lives we have enjoyed and are currently enjoying.”
The parade included color guards provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard veterans groups, the Dukes County Sheriff’s office, and Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. About 40 veterans from towns across the Island participated in the parade, one of the best attended in recent years.
In recognition of Oak Bluffs as one of 64 regional Veterans Day observance sites designated nationwide, Dukes County Director of Veterans Services Jo Ann Murphy read a message provided by Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for the ceremony.