A touching personal testimony from Todd Johnson and a stirring keynote speech by Command Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth A. Williams highlighted a moving Veterans Day Ceremony on the Town Common Thursday.
Johnson spoke of travelling, along with his brother-in-law, to the coast of France earlier this year to take his father-in-law to visit Utah Beach, where he'd participated in the Invasion of Normandy, along with Gen. George Patton's Third Army in June, 1944. Johnson spoke of visiting the graveyards containing the remains of thousands killed in the D-Day invasion, an event that turned the tide of World War II.
Johnson's father-in-law was seriously wonded and lost his eyesight during the mission. Johnson spoke of meeting people on that trip who took time to thank his father-in-law for his service.
Williams, the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the Electronic Systems Center (ESC), Hanscom Air Force Base, spoke of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families in service to their country. He also discussed the difficulties encountered by many veterans when they leave active duty and the need for enhanced services, including better housing and medical care for veterans in need.
The ceremony also featured musical contributions from Daniel Siracusa of the Siracusa Project, the Tewksbury High Band, The Swinging Seniors and students from the Tewksbury Elementary Schools. The Boys and Girl Scouts participated by leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
The ceremony ended with the laying of the wreaths at the town's War Memorials throughout the common, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.