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Thursday, May 30, 2024

 

It is with great respect that I joined Memorial Day ceremonies in Needham and Medfield and will attend Dover this evening. Following are my remarks on Memorial Day in Needham.

Greetings to all the Gold Star families and loved ones and friends of service men and women who have died in service to our country. To the veterans who are present, with good thoughts for our former ceremony leader, Master Sargent Bill Topham and all the members Needham’s Post 2498, our Public Safety personnel including our Police Officers and Firefighters, Senator Rausch, our Community Leaders, both elected and staff, friends, and neighbors, and most especially the children who are here today.

 

It is a privilege of my office, as your State Representative, that I am invited to speak at this ceremony. I feel deeply the responsibility to represent our community and our Commonwealth. It is humbling for me as an elected leader, a former VA nurse and as a mother, for me to search for the words that add meaning as we gather in our hometown.

 

Memorial Day is a somber commemoration of US military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

 

However, let us take a moment and first speak of the American service men and women who are stationed all over the world. In fact, the United States has over 750 military bases in more than 80 countries. According to the Department of Defense, 1.3 million Americans serve in active duty and nearly 800 thousand more serve in the Reserves today. Approximately eight thousand five hundred serve in the Massachusetts National Guard.

 

Make no mistake…they are in harm’s way. Dying in training and dying in the field. We pray for their safety, and we honor their service. Some have returned and are wounded in ways that are devastating, debilitating and lifelong. Some have injuries that are deep, grave, and invisible; and die by suicide. In 2021, the most recent statistics, thirty thousand one hundred and seventy-seven active-duty personnel and veterans who served in the military since 9/11 have died by suicide. (USO)

 

Some are lost to us and just never return.

 

Today, on Memorial Day we recognize and reflect on the Americans who have died in service to our country since the Revolutionary War.

 

Thirty-seven thousand flags fly today on Boston Common to commemorate the Massachusetts active-duty service men and women who have died.

 

Close your eyes and picture this- feel this number – it is more than every woman, man, and child in Needham today- more than.  Lives never fully realized, loves lost, children never born, parents alone in their last years, books never written, cures for diseases never discovered, businesses never launched, inventions never built.

 

Beyond our commonwealth- More than 1.1 million Americans have died in all U.S. Wars.

 

In the flag ceremony today, the flag will fly at half-staff. It is a gesture of honor and an acknowledgment of grief.

 

The flag will then be returned to full staff- its return is a symbol of our nation’s strength and resilience.

 

It is in our bearing witness today that we are compelled to accept our own personal responsibility- and strive for our own resilience.

 

Wars or the euphemism ‘conflict’, rage across our world today.

 

The United States military has fought and fights in our name.

We elect the leaders who decide to go to war, who engage in conflicts, who fail to stop war. We pay for the weapons or withhold them.  We send the sons and daughters of our country to United States military outposts across the globe. We, you, and I, must bear our responsibility.

 

And we can be resilient too.

John Adams said. and I paraphrase.

“…We must study politics and war, so that our children may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy so that their children may study painting, poetry and music…”

 

In speeches across our Commonwealth and country today the words “duty, honor, patriotism, service” will echo.

 

Let us be responsible that these are not words paid for by a life, -and then forgotten until next May. With our presence today we know that each and every death was a loss we cannot fathom in a family, a community, our country. Let our hearts, indeed, be at half-staff.

 

Then…Let us be resilient.  We must be strong.  live our values of duty, honor, patriotism, and service. It is our duty to know these facts; how many individuals are serving – how many have died, to be aware of the history and locations and actions of our military.  We must demand that the military actions are centered on the true tenets of our country and that our nation’s honor is preserved. We must demonstrate our patriotism not through holiday parades and Barbeques but in paying attention and acting to elect leaders wisely and then holding them accountable to us, we must serve in the ways we can, a kindness to a neighbor, volunteering, treating people in public service with dignity, spending our resources appropriately. We must accept our responsibility for those who serve in our name, and we must ensure care for the wounded in body and those dealing with trauma through our words and through tangible and sufficient benefits to the service person or survivors.

 

Finally…We must build a better world for our children, for all children and for their children’s children. This tremendous sacrifice of individuals in military service, the suffering of their families, the incomprehensible loss to communities, the country and the future can only be redeemed if there is a purpose- the worthy purposes are for us to honor the past, live our lives with our values in the present and work for a better tomorrow.

 

We must be strong and resolved. We must act and we must keep our hearts and souls at full staff.

 

 

District Updates

 

 

Needham

  • Needham has its first peer recovery coach. Angi MacDonnell, who has already been working with the Town’s Public Health Division in substance use prevention is the town’s new peer recovery coach. This position is made possible by funds from the National Opioid Settlements. Services from the peer recovery coach are free to those who are 18+ and live and work in Needham. Needham residents and community members who would like to speak to Angi can contact her at amacdonnell@needhamma.gov or (781) 708-1752.
  • The Town of Needham’s Climate Action Plan Committee (CAPC) is hosting a meeting to introduce Needham’s first-ever Climate Action Roadmap on Wednesday, June 5th. The event will be held at Powers Hall from 6 to 7 PM. The event will include an overview of the Roadmap and the process by which it was developed, and a brief presentation of accomplishments to date, climate hazards, Needham’s greenhouse gas emissions assessment, and identified priority actions. The meeting is open to the public and will include time for questions and discussion. To learn more about the Climate Action Roadmap, click here.
  • Town buildings and facilities are currently operating under a summer schedule. Summer hours are in effect until Sunday, August 31st. For a full list of buildings and facilities and their summer hours, click here.

Dover

  • Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell and his outreach team will hold office hours Thursday, June 6th, from 10 AM to 12 PM at Dover Town House in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room, 5 Springdale Avenue, as part of his ongoing efforts to bring the Registry of Deeds directly to the residents of Norfolk County. To learn more, click here.
  • Algonquin Gas Transmission will be performing maintenance work in the town near Claybrook Rd. The construction work began mid-May and takes approximately two months to complete. For more information, click here.
  • The results from the 2024 Annual Town Election are available. To view the election results, click here.

Medfield

 

 

  • The Medfield community is invited to an open house on Saturday, June 1st at 10:30 AM to view the decorations for the 2024 All Night Grad Party for Medfield High’s class of 2024. The theme for this year’s event is “From Medfield, to Wherever Life Takes You”. For more information, click here.
  • The Medfield Parks and Recreation Commission has a vacancy. If you are interested in serving on the commission, please submit a resume and letter of interest by June 4th to Brittney Franklin at bfranklin@medfield.net.
  • The Medfield Swap Shop is looking for volunteers. The Swap Shop recently reopened and will be running until the end of September. The Swap Shop is run entirely by volunteers and is seeking more to help the shop run smoothly. Interested parties should email Nancy at n.nancyirwin@gmail.com or medfieldswapshop@gmail.com.

 

 

Statewide Updates

 

 

  • The Early Childhood Educators scholarship is open for the 2024-2025 academic year. This scholarship is available for educators who work at programs licensed and/or funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), including center-based, family child care and out-of-school time programs. For the first time, the scholarship is now available for staff who work at residential programs licensed by EEC. The application process has also been simplified and eligible majors have been expanded to better support the career pathways for out-of-school time educators. To learn more, click here.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced $480,000 in grant funding to six community-based organizations for the Successful Teens: Relationship, Identity, and Values Education (STRIVE) Program. STRIVE is a DPH initiative that teaches youth aged 10-15 personal responsibility, leadership skills, and healthy decision-making while preventing future youth risk behaviors. To learn more, click here.
  • More than $1.3 million in Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) grants will be awarded to projects that are collaborations between all 15 Massachusetts community colleges, state universities, and private institutions of higher education to advance racial equity. Projects include developing a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) certificate program, advancing best practices for student success and retention of underserved student populations, continuing the work of the Racial Equity and Justice Institute, and creating a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) conference. To learn more, click here.
  • The Healey-Driscoll administration has launched a call center and website for patients as part of the next step in its Incident Command structure in response to Steward Health Care’s filing for bankruptcy. The dedicated Steward Health Care call center can be reached at (617) 468-2189 or toll-free at (833) 305-2070. The website can be accessed here.
  • The People with Disabilities Equity Dashboard is now published on the Mass.gov website. The data dashboard offers a comprehensive view of employment-related insights, encompassing disability type, geographic variations, remote work opportunities, unemployment rates, labor force participation, and more. To view the dashboard, click here.
  • MassDEP is now accepting applications for paid internship opportunities for the summer/early fall session. The internships are available for programs in MassDEP’s Boston headquarters as well as in all four regional offices. The positions are all important in helping environmental protection across the Commonwealth. To learn more, click here.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is accepting applications for lifeguards, swim instructors, and other pool and waterfront roles across the state for the 2024 summer season. Qualified candidates, who apply early and work through the end of the season, can earn up to $1,250 in bonuses, in addition to a competitive hourly rate of between $22 and $27, dependent on the position and associated certifications. For more information, click here.
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