Serving after they served

Vets in local government roles reflect on Veterans Day.


A number of veterans serve in government roles on the Vineyard. The Times reached out to some of them to ask what the national holiday for veterans means to them. Here’s what they said. 

Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Leland, Army: “As a veteran, Veterans Day is a day I like to remember all of my fellow soldiers still serving our great country, both here and away. It is a day that I remember the selflessness of our service members, and just how much they give to all of us on a daily basis. These men and women spend countless days and nights away from their loved ones, missing precious moments like first steps and holidays. They do all this without complaint, as service to our country is almost a calling to them. It’s on Veterans Day that we remember all those selfless heroes, past and present.”

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee, Navy, Navy Reserve, Army Reserve: “You feel that connectedness with other men and women who served their country.” Sometimes during the year, Chief McNamee said, he may forget about the opportunity he had to serve his country, but Veterans Day gives him a time to reflect on how appreciative he is to have been able to serve. 

Chilmark Fire Chief Jeremy Bradshaw, Navy: “It is nice when people thank you for your service.” Chief Bradshaw described Veterans Day as a very special day “for all the people who have sacrificed, for the families who have sacrificed.” He also called it an important day for reflection. 

Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty, Marines, Marines Reserve (active): “Veterans Day is about honoring service. Regardless of personal opinions on America’s entrance into conflict, the fact that we have this capability preserves our way of life and protects our freedom. Personal self-sacrifice combined with our values of democracy is the reason America will always be the land of opportunity.” 

Tisbury Det. Charles Duquette, Army: “Honestly, it’s something that I think about on a daily basis, because there’s a lot of men and women out there, people that I served with and that other people have served with, that are still serving, [who] wake up every morning and put the uniform on. And a lot of people don’t understand the sacrifices that go on [in those] families. For them to continuously do that is honorable in and of itself … It’s something that we all appreciate.” Det. Duquette said there are a lot of veterans on the Vineyard, and he appreciates the service veterans from all branches of the military have given. He gave special thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard. “The Coast Guard doesn’t get a lot of recognition for what they do, not only stateside but across the world,” he said. 

Station Menemsha Auxiliarist Watchstander Joe Berini, Coast Guard: “I think it’s our way of recognizing the sacrifices that people that have been in the service, and are in the service, make every day of their lives.” Berini said Veterans Day reminds him of people he’s known in the service. He said he typically spends the day setting American flags in the West Tisbury cemetery.

Edgartown ZBA chair Martin Tomassian, Army: Tomassian said there are a lot of Vietnam veterans on the Vineyard who are reticent to talk about their experience partially because, like himself, when they returned from the war they were spit on, “literally.” “So what does it mean to me?” Tomassian said. “I think there are a whole lot of people who ought to be a lot more thankful.” 

Evoking JFK, Tomassian said there need to be fewer people asking the government what it will do for them and more people asking the government what they can do for it. “I think there’s too many people running around today flapping their gums that have no idea what it means to represent their country,” Tomassian said.
Oak Bluffs town administrator Deborah Potter, Marines: “As a former Marine celebrating both the Marine Corps Birthday (Nov. 10, and it is our 246th) and Veterans Day, I find this time as a period that offers an opportunity for celebration of our veterans as well as a time for introspective reflection. It’s a time to remember the opportunities provided, friendships created, and personal development that my time in the military provided. It’s a time to reflect on the past, consider future pathways, and develop strategies to overcome any challenges that may exist to accomplish those goals. It’s a time to applaud the Few, the Proud, the Marines and our fellow military service members and their families by honoring and appreciating what they have done in the past and for what they continue to do every day. Semper Fi, and Happy Veterans Day to all.”


  1. So proud to celebrate our MV Vets!

    Thank you to all of the men and women that served and continue to serve and fight for our country today! It’s because of you and your sacrifices we can enjoy the wonderful freedoms we have!! You are very appreciated and needed….a big THANK YOU for your commitment and bravery.

    Happy Veterans Day!!

    • You’re welcome, Tracy– I an really touched that you appreciate me my commitment and my bravery..
      And just in case some people here don’t know the oath that servicemembers take ( enlisted here) :
      “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
      Pretty powerful oath. Especially the part about defending “the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC”. I took that oath, and I’m still doing just that– right here on the comment section of the MV Times…

      I agree with the attorneys general that and the secretary of Homeland Security :

      “Domestic violent extremists pose an elevated threat in 2021 and in the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat we face comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race ”Garland told lawmakers at the top of the hearing.
      Who knew that right wing nut cases racist would be the biggest threat to our society in 2021 ?
      Funny how you never know how things will work out.
      Lucky us, I guess– you and I can fight it out from the safety of our homes with a keyboard, rather than in a sweltering jungle with M-16a1 5.56 mm assault rifles..

      And I too appreciate all the sacrifice from millions of people who have kept our country free.
      My father for one–

  2. Thank you for serving Don.

    I disagree with you and your assessment that our biggest domestic threat are solely ‘right’ wing nut cases. That is absurd. I can easily say that Antifa and BLM are domestic threats given their violent history with riots, intimidation and destruction. Look at NYC for example, BLM just came out today making threats of fire, bloodshed, etc., if the mayor does not comply to their demands regarding law enforcement. Do you think Garland will call in the FBI on that one?? Doubtful. He’s too busy going after everyday parents and hardworking families that are speaking up for their children. I don’t see these parents trashing stores, setting cities on fire, intimidating innocent diners in restaurants. Where was Garland when that was happening with Anita and BLM then Don? Oh wait, those were protests, not riots. He’s a joke and is incompetent as well. So, quoting anyone from this dysfunctional useless administration means little.

    • BLM wants the the law enforcement in in NYC to do so without racial profiling.
      Busting people on made up charges because of skin color must not be allowed to occur.
      Rudy was tough on Black crime.
      And on trying to score underage women.
      Rudy is now dysfunctional and useless administration.
      The head of the previous administration will no longer take his calls.
      I am sure that Mr. Joke and Incompetent as Well would gladly take his calls.
      They could discuss a pardon.

  3. Tracy– When those riots broke out a few years ago Garland was a private citizen , just like you and me. No surprise you just try to vilify him.
    Now, as the attorneys general, he has identified a potential problem and is getting advise as to how to address it. And by the way, in that memo he wrote , he never called parents, or anyone else for that matter “domestic terrorist” . He is simply trying to protect everyday parents and hardworking families that are speaking up for their children from the increasingly violent parents who want their children to be mask less.

  4. Don, BLM in NYC just spoke out yesterday, they have THREATENED to riot with destruction, fire and bloodshed, like they actively did in the past and got away with it, destroyed NYC, which was run by DeBlasio, a democrat.

    WHERE IS Garland and the FBI on this??

    NSBA and this administration purposely worked together to vilify parents that are speaking up for wanting to know what their children are being taught and Garland knew it and lied. He’s just as corrupt as the others.

    Increasingly violent parents??? Really?? Where?? Show me parents that protest and riot like BLM and Antifa. Are you talking about the one fathers reaction who’s daughter was raped in a school bathroom??? Do you have a daughter? What would you do if the school ignored your daughter being raped by a guy in a skirt at school??

    How can you be so ignorant calling these parents violent yet completely put your head in the sand when it comes to groups like Antifa and BLM that got away with destroying cities which are all run by democrats btw??? They allowed it too!

    • Tracy– blaming Garland for what the teachers association said is ridiculous.. Do you think we should drop nuclear weapons into the eye of hurricanes or inject bleach as a cure for covid ? Your hero suggested both. therefore you must agree.
      People on both sides say stupid stuff.
      As I have advised Andy, when you use words like “all” “never” and “always” you leave yourself open to legitimate criticism.
      After Andy made the same baseless claim about rising crime rates in “all” dem cities, I schooled him with the facts. While it is true that violent crime rates are going up in many cities, and cities tend to have dem mayors, there were many exceptions to his , and your statement that they are “all” run by dems.
      If you don’t want to look foolish and under educated here, don’t post things that are demonstrably untrue.
      As for parents wanting to know what is being taught in schools, those parents know , and want to impose their own version of “cancel culture”.
      I have a daughter, and a grand daughter. How about filling us in on the case of a guy in a skirt who raped a girl. Was he transgender ? How exactly does that work ? — there is a difference between someone who has transitioned from male to female and a full on pervert who dresses up to gain access to a bathroom and thinks it’s ok to grab women by the pushy, forcibly kiss them, and rape them. We had a loser president that encouraged that, you know.
      So please tell me all about this story, and the school that ignored a rape in their bathroom.
      I can cite a number of christian schools and “conservative” schools that have ignored such things. — IT has been especially prevalent around football teams for some reason.
      And what makes you think I have my head in the sand about race riots?
      I just commented to you about some of the facts– It seems you have your head in the sand about the insurrection. Why aren’t you concerned about that ?
      I will not defend looting and arson– it seems you are willing to defend the sacking of the Capital building, the murder of a police officer, the attacks resulting in injury to scores of other police officers, and an attempt to murder members of congress and the vice president, and the overturning the results of an election.
      I’m still waiting for the pillow guy to show us all his proof about the election being fraudulent.
      In the meantime some of the cronies of the last regime are going to jail.

  5. Btw, I agree with the parents anger and frustration over the mask mandates, however I have not seen one parent blow up a car, smash store front windows, harass diners, violently destroy everything g in their path in the name of ‘protesting’.

    Yet you should really be careful of those ‘threatening’ moms and dads out there that advocate for their children, they are the real dangers to our country! Don, please.

  6. Thank you MV Times!!! Appreciate your willingness to post all views. Not so easy in todays world. I know I’m speaking for many in our community and it’s not so popular to go against the grain here, but it’s imperative that all views are heard and respected, not silenced.

    Unbiased , impartial journalism is essential and critical, especially now. Shows you are objective and tolerant to think outside the box and allow thoughts to be heard outside the box as well.

    Thank you for letting views that go against the grain be heard. Time for our community to come together regardless of different views and opinions we all have, life is too short to be this divisive and hostile towards one another, we need to work together, not against one another.

    MV is so special, the people here are so special, time for our community to unite, we all don’t have to agree to get along, I’m hoping we can have more conversations/ opportunities to unite rather than debate. My opinion.

  7. .
    First, thank you very much MV Times and Rich Saltzberg for the outstanding reporting and coverage. I am glad that we have one sincerely patriotic newspaper on our island!

    My comment is;
    I firmly believe that Ronald Reagan (R) was absolutely right on the money and that he clearly saw the future during his `Presidential Inaugural Address Address` in 1967.
    Those times that he spoke about I believe is what we are actually seeing right now especially with this so called administration.
    Every single terrible thing that has happened since Biden and his so call VP came into office has been a total disaster in every way, shape and form and their terms have just begun!
    NO serious positive accomplishments are on their real agenda!
    I am convinced that his die hard supporters either agree with them 100% are are totally in denial and could care less.

    Below is part of Ronald Reagan speech.
    Governor Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Inaugural Address January 5, 1967:

    ***Perhaps you and I have lived too long with this miracle to properly be appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again. ***

    In closing I remember like it was yesterday, in fact we were warned way ahead of time of the type of reception Vietnam Veterans would be receiving when we hit American soil from our fellow citizens.

    USMC – VNV – 0311

  8. Don you pride yourself on factual accuracy but facts in the US today are a chimera. The media and the Dems hyped the Jan 6 so called insurrection which was a protest that got out of hand and if you did the research you find all the lies the media spouted about what happened. It is apocryphal. I was in Minneapolis the day Floyd died and actually drove through the city a couple of days after and the destruction was manifest. To compare the two is silly. No one believes so called facts anymore because they are always the function of an agenda. We see with our eyes and you tell us what we are seeing is not there. You do this all the time. You called Minneapolis peaceful protests and it was anything but that. You say Trump is Orangeman lying racist bigot and fascist and to 70 million Americans who voted let alone those who didn’t, that is not a fact but to you it is.

    • I never called Minneapolis a peaceful protest.. That’s a lie, Andy.. A big fat hairy lie.

      Trump however did say that the riot at the capital was just a group of peaceful tourist hugging cops who waved them in.
      And by the way, I have also stated that the “rioters” — that’s the term I have repeatedly used to describe them — In Minneapolis cause about $ 500 million in damages over 7 days and nights. .
      The Capital building and surrounding areas incurred $130 million in damages in about 6 hours.
      HOW DARE YOU lie about what I say ? HOW DARE YOU !
      Take a few seconds to read the 9th commandment in your favorite fairy tale.
      Or is that one not applicable because the story of Moses and the tablets happened in the “Old testament” ?
      Shame on you Andrew– Shame on you .
      I don’t appreciate you lying about what I say, or what I have said.
      But you have enough blind audacity to reply to this comment and say that you never said that I called “Minneapolis peaceful protest”.

    • Andy– I love your logic. jan 6 th was “A protest that got out of hand” . And even better, “The media and the Dems hyped it”

      Yeah, excuse me for being “silly’ and thinking that the riots in Minneapolis were “hyped” by the media. I guess you have shown me that fox news — which of course is not actually “media”– and the Repubs never “hyped” anything about what was going on with what I will call riots that were in response to the cold blooded murder of a citizen of the community by a police officer.

  9. Woody– An inaugural address by a governor is not a “presidential inaugural address”
    The word “presidential” is reserved for presidents. It is simply called an inaugural address.
    No problem.
    And you got the quote correct. And I agree , freedom is fragile.
    But let me offer a quote from the same inaugural address.
    “those with a grievance can seek redress in our Courts or in our Legislature, but not in our public streets. Lawlessness by the mob, as with the individual, will not be tolerated. We will act firmly and quickly to put down riot or insurrection wherever and whenever the situation requires.”
    Trump failed us both with the riots in the summer of 2020, and the insurrection/ riot on Jan 6.

    • Don, FYI I have always just bypassed `ALL` your comments. So dont expect any replies from me other than this one.

  10. Woody.. Yep, that’s the way to preserve the freedom of speech and the continuation of our democracy that you and I both served to uphold.
    Democracy dies in darkness you know, but you will never know that because you are already in such a dark space you can not read the opinions of others.
    Sorry if I offended you by pointing out that governors do not give presidential addresses.
    I wonder though, why you put the word “all” in quotes.
    Who are you quoting there Woody ?
    Now if I can just get Andy to quit replying….

Comments are closed.