Veterans Day Ceremonies at the Museum of Work and Culture Monday morning treated eyes and ears with beautiful renditions of patriotic songs, a narrated WHS JROTC flag folding ceremony and a six-gun salute.
The theme of the morning was the War of 1812, America's last war with England, now a staunch ally of the United States.
"I think it shows us that out of diversity and conflict can come unity and friendship," said Mayor Leo Fontaine.
Richard Schatz, president of the United Veterans Council of Woonsocket, asked the Boy Scouts and members of the WHS AFJROTC to learn as much as they could during their time in the organizations. "It is going to make you a better person. A better citizen," Schatz said. With the loss of membership in local veterans groups, he said, "We need you to be committed. We need you to do your best."
Congressman David Cicilline said that beyond Veterans Day, it is also important to show respect for what veterans did for the country, not just by observance of holidays, but, "In our actions."
Jean O'Donnell sang moving versions of "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "God Bless America", and the AFJROTC performed a flag folding ceremony narrated by Dave Richards of WOON Radio. "The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life," Richards began, outlining all 12 folds in the ceremony.
Ben Demers and Jon Blanchette played "Taps", and WNRI's Jeff Gamache narrated the song, telling the story of how the song was used in 1862 instead of a gun volley to honor a fallen soldier to avoid enemy attention.
Frank Daly gave the keynote address, outlining the reasons America entered the War of 1812 and the major battles.
Museum of Work and Culture volunteer Romeo Berthiaume closed the ceremony with remarks about the Rhode Island Merci Train boxcar, one of 49 boxcars filled with gifts by the people of France and sent to the US in appreciation of their aid during World War II.
Members of the Second RI Brigade concluded the ceremony with a bang — a six-gun salute.