Members of Milton's American Legion Post No. 114. Photo by Sarah Favot for boston.com.
Hundreds of residents celebrated Memorial Day at the Milton Cemetery with speakers that included a World War II veteran and the first active female service member to speak at the celebration.
Army Captain Lindsey Elder challenged the audience to actively remember soldiers by sending letters or small care packages to servicemen and women who are on deployment and away from their families.
She said soldiers read the letters over and over and take them into battle with them.
“Do something to make sure that our veteran’s sacrifices are not forgotten,” she said.
Elder, who served in Iraq and was awarded a Bronze Star, is a professor at Boston University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Harry Lyons, of Milton, who served on the USS Enterprise, spoke of his experiences during various missions in the Pacific Ocean through World War II.
“It was an honor, but not always a pleasure to serve on the most decorated warship in United States history,” said Lyons.
He said that the ship, which he called “the Big E,” was 150 miles south of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese carried out their attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
Lyons said the carnage he witnessed when the ship returned to Pearl Harbor was “indescribable.” He wiped tears from his eyes when he said that, during his years of service, he lost a number of friends.
American Legion Post No. 114 hosted the service. Senior Vice Commander Austin McGuirk thanked all of the students involved in the ceremony, including the Milton High School band and chorus, Milton Public Schools elementary students, local Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.
“I’m overwhelmed by the support and participation of the young people and older people,” said McGuirk. “It exemplifies everything that’s good about America -- the spirit of volunteerism.”
He said that volunteers spent last week marking the grave of every veteran at the Milton Cemetery with American flags.
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