Middleboro’s veterans will never be forgotten, speakers say at ceremony

May 29, 2023

MIDDLEBORO — Everyone dies twice, American Legion District 10 Vice Commander Bob Burke told those attending Middleboro’s Memorial Day observances Monday, May 29.

The first death happens when the person takes a last breath. The second death can be recorded when the person is no longer remembered.

That should never happen with Middleboro’s veterans, he said. They should always be recalled and acknowledged, he said.

“We continue to mourn their loss but we also celebrate their lives,’’ he said of the town’s veterans, who were honored with a parade and ceremony. “God bless those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.’’

The ceremony featured the singing of patriotic songs, salutes to each branch of the military, placement of a wreath at the flag at the veterans memorial in front of Town Hall and distribution of flowers to relatives of those killed in the line of duty.

Lakeville resident Mary Standish depicted Deborah Sampson, the one-time Middleboro resident who disguised herself as a man and served in the Revolutionary War. She served as grand marshal along with representatives of the 50 veterans whose images are depicted on banners in the town center through the Hometown Heroes project.

Memorial Day weekend is viewed as the unofficial start of summer, Town Manager James McGrail said, speaking on behalf of the Select Board. But its solemn nature should not be forgotten, he said.

The freedoms American cherish were preserved by the sacrifices of veterans, he said.

“Never take their lives and their sacrifices for granted.’’

Pastor Jason Genest of North Baptist Church saluted both the veterans who have died and the families they left behind, whom he described as “heroes to your loved ones whose memories we honor today.’’

He also noted the recent loss of Dylan Levesque, a 15-year-old Middleboro High School freshman who was fatally struck by a vehicle on May 14. Although he did not serve in the military, his family made the selfless decision to donate his organs so others could live.

“His heart beats on today,’’ the pastor noted.