NEEDHAM-Needham’s Veteran’s Day ceremony held at Memorial Park focused not just on honoring legacies through remembrance, but through support. The crowd, made up of veterans, families and local and state officials, huddled together in the chilly rain Nov. 11 for the annual ceremony.
The ceremony featured a variety of speakers including Sens. Richard Ross and Mike Rush, Board of Selectmen Chairman Moe Handel and Needham High School junior Zachary Richmond.
Though they relayed messages of gratitude, each speaker emphasized a need to give back. For veterans, the fight does not necessarily end with the war.
Rep. Denise Garlick reminded the crowd of the challenges many veterans face upon returning home. In addition to serious injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, many veterans deal with drug addiction, homelessness, and, in the state, many veterans are lost to suicide.
“We must care deeply for our veterans with wounds seen and unseen,” said Garlick.
There is a lot of work yet to be done Garlick continued. While there are many needed programs, supporting veterans can start simply with a conversation.
“We must listen to the stories of our veterans when they are ready to speak to us,” said Garlick.
One such effort to help veterans is a bill put forward by Ross that would allow veterans to visit public parks and beaches anywhere in the state without having to pay parking or recreation fees.
The sacrifice and legacy of Needham’s veterans was not something to be forgotten the speakers said. Their legacy has protected the livelihoods and childhoods of those growing up in the United States.
“We must think of our children that they live every day thinking of math and science thanks to our veterans,” Garlick said.
World War II veteran and prisoner of war Solomon Fineblum was one such veteran present.
Standing quietly, Solomon listened as his wife, Carol Fineblum, proudly recounted a harrowing story where despite injury, Solomon raced to protect his friend taking enemy fire.
“People were telling him not to do it, not to go back,” Carol said.
According to Carol, upon reaching his friend, Solomon bent over to protect him and when he did so, the Germans stopped firing.
“They just stopped shooting,” Carol said, her eyes shinning with amazement.
In response, Solomon shrugged his shoulders and said simply, “I was a soldier, I was just doing my job.”
For the speakers it all came back to continued support.
According to Handel, the treatment of veterans today will influence future generations looking to serve.
“Let us never forget them and those who will follow their example and service,” he said.