Hemenway Trust Company Managing Director and Hingham Town Moderator, Michael J. Puzo, welcomed hundreds of Hingham citizens, including veterans and their families, to the Hingham Memorial Day Ceremony on May 27, 2019. The ceremony was hosted by the Town of Hingham Department of Veterans’ Services and the Hingham Veterans Council.
Michael greeted those assembled with these opening remarks:
We gather today, as we rightly do each year, to honor those who have given their lives to preserve our freedom — indeed, to preserve our very way of life. To pay tribute to those who have died in the service of our country, so that we may live in peace.
Our nation was founded by men and women ready to risk all that they had and all that they knew for something that lay beyond...for freedom and opportunity in a new land. While it took a great civil war, and years thereafter, to secure freedom and opportunity for all Americans, our country continues to draw people to this day — people seeking the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Once secured, the challenge of preserving and defending these sacred rights has been taken up again and again by fellow citizens willing to sacrifice their personal freedom and, all too often, their very lives, for others and for country.
In observing Memorial Day 2018, we did so on the 150th anniversary of the first Memorial Day — known in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War as Decoration Day. Today — as we observe Memorial Day 2019 — we do so only days away from the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches to liberate Europe from the scourge of Nazi Germany. Thousands of young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines hit those beaches — each willing to sacrifice for the good of all — for duty, honor and country. It is for such as those, who today lie an ocean away, and for so many more, that we gather.
Let me close with a few words which I read recently — words that affected me deeply. These words were spoken by Florent Groberg, on whom our nation bestowed the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan in 2012. It was through his actions — intercepting a suicide bomber on a deadly mission — that Army Captain Flo Groberg suffered grievous injuries. While he survived, enduring 33 operations over three years, three of his comrades were killed in the attack. When asked about the black metal bracelet he wears, inscribed with the names of the three service members who died at his side, Groberg said:
"I wake up every morning and I think about them,” he said. “I go to sleep every night and I think about them. I was given a second chance. I would do everything—I would give back everything—to have them back. I would trade places with them at any second.”
For us, assembled here, today is Memorial Day. For Captain Groberg, every day is Memorial Day, as he remembers daily Army Command Sgt. Major Kevin Griffin, Army Major Thomas Kennedy and U.S. Air Force Major Walter Gray. We gather in their honor, and others like them, to pay tribute and to remember.