(BOSTON) – Representative Linda Dean Campbell joined government officials, Veterans organizations, and families of our Fallen Heroes at the State House on Wednesday for the Annual Gold Star Families Tree Dedication. The event, organized by the nonprofit Military Friends Foundation, pays tribute to Massachusetts service members who gave their lives in service to our nation and the families who carry their legacies forward.
As House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, Representative Campbell offered remarks along with Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard Major General Gary Keefe, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Urena, and Senator Walter Timilty. Over 100 military families from across the Commonwealth were in attendance.
Speaking directly to the Gold Star Families, Representative Campbell stated: “You are the reason that people all over the world pray every day that our experiment in democracy continues, messy as it is; that our country remains the strongest and most generous force in the world for freedom and basic human rights; and that we do not shy away from world leadership.”
Further, Representative Campbell offered wishes that the families “will be able to reflect, in this holy and beautiful season of hope, on the lives of their loved ones, lives lived with purpose, honor, valor, and love of country – our fellow Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice.” She expressed her hope that this reflection would bring the families joy and peace throughout the new year.
During the ceremony, two Gold Star Families provided readings in memory of their loved ones. The families of HM3 Meaghan Burns and Corporal Christopher Orlando, USMC both spoke to their children’s selfless dedication to their nation, always putting service before themselves. At the end of the ceremony, scores of additional families lined up behind the podium to share the names of their loved ones who are our Fallen Heroes.
Complete with beautiful music, carolers, a visit from Santa, and a stunning holiday tree decorated with photos and memories of our Fallen Heroes, the ceremony provided a somber yet uplifting atmosphere of remembrance, recognition, and support. First Lady Lauren Baker’s reading of “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” to the children in the room, a yearly tradition, was enjoyed by children and adults alike. The ceremony was followed by a holiday reception for all in the Great Hall – a beautiful Massachusetts tradition to honor our Gold Star Families and their loved ones.