Music, carolers, a visit from Santa and a holiday tree decorated with photos and memories of fallen heroes greeted families this week during the State House’s Annual Gold Star Families Tree Dedication.
State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell joined government officials, veterans organization and families for the Wednesday ceremony, organized by the nonprofit Military Friends Foundation. The event pays tribute to Massachusetts service members who gave their lives in service to our nation and the families who carry their legacies forward.
Campbell told attendees, “You are the reason that people all over the world pray every day that our experiment in democracy continues, messy as it is; that our country remains the strongest and most generous force in the world for freedom and basic human rights; and that we do not shy away from world leadership.”
As House chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, Campbell’s remarks were among those offered by Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard Major General Gary Keefe, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Urena, and Sen.Walter Timilty. More than 100 military families from across the Commonwealth were in attendance.
During the ceremony, two Gold Star Families provided readings in memory of their loved ones. The families of HM3 Meaghan Burns and Corporal Christopher Orlando, USMC, both spoke to their children’s selfless dedication to their nation, always putting service before themselves. At the end of the ceremony, scores of additional families lined up behind the podium to share the names of their loved ones who are our Fallen Heroes.