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Residents are asked to gather at Belchertown High School’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 142 Springfield Rd., at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 11.
The ceremony will begin with the ringing of the bell and will also include performances from the schools’ band and choruses and remarks from government officials.
Belchertown Veterans’ Agent Charly Olivia said that this year the event will include the pinning of Marine Corps Sergeant Kevin McMenamin with his Purple Heart, 54 years after he was combat wounded in Vietnam.
The Purple Heart is a United States military medal awarded to those wounded or killed while serving.
Memorial Day: This federal holiday is celebrated the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is the holiday set aside to pay tribute to those who died serving in the military.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress made it an official holiday.
Veterans Day: This federal holiday falls on November 11 and is designated as a day to honor all who have served in the military. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.
Nov. 11 recognizes the month, day and time the guns fell silent on the Western Front during World War I. The carnage left millions dead, destroyed cities, scorched countrysides and caused deep-seated resentments that led to World War II.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.