By: John MacDonald – April, 2017
Several months ago, the Lowell Veterans Commission was tasked by the Lowell City Council to find a way to recognize Walter Bayliss. Mr. Bayliss is a Vietnam Veteran, a tireless advocate and volunteer for his fellow veterans and the citizens of Lowell. The Veterans Commission did just that and developed a monthly “Lowell Veteran of the Month Award”, which we named in the honor of Walter Bayliss. Now called… “The Walter Bayliss Lowell Veteran of the Month Award”.
Each month a Lowell Veteran who served his country and made a significant impact on their city, would be selected, voted upon by the council and then quarterly recognized in these chambers, in front of the Lowell City Council and before their fellow citizens. They would receive an award and proclamation of appreciation by the Council.
The Lowell Veterans Commission selected the following…
For January, we selected WW II Veteran Barney Hovey.
February, Robert J McMahon and Gerald F McMahon.
March, All Veterans who have served the Lowell Police Department
April, All Veterans who have served the Lowell Fire Department.
This prestigious award is a city award, an award for our citizens to bestow upon and recognize the service, sacrifice and life’s accomplishments to the City of Lowell and country. It’s an award given by this Lowell City Council and administration on behalf of its citizens.
It’s an award that the council should take the time for.
Take time out of its busy agenda and take a moment and recognize these tremendous people. It’s not an award or honor that should be shuffled off to the Mayor’s reception room; out of sight and out of mind and out of the eye of the public… who cannot make it to the Mayor’s reception room.
This is a Lowell award… it’s not the Mayor’s Award.
The Mayor is but a figurehead of the council. The council should partake in and publicly appreciate the men and woman of the City of Lowell who have given the Council the right to represent them in the public’s chambers.
So some of you might ask, why didn’t you speak to the Mayor, when you heard about the change from the Veterans Commission’s motion to recognize our veterans in Lowell City Council chambers… quarterly? I did. I was told that the mayor didn’t want to take time out of the council’s busy agenda to recognize people. That we instead… would do it in the Mayor’s Reception room, before the council meeting – without TV coverage and without the opportunity for the majority of my fellow Lowellians to appreciate our fine veterans and citizens.
The mayor’s decision is to push veterans to the back room, when it wasn’t too long ago that he wanted to escort Hun Manet to these chambers, the son of a vicious Dictator and Oppressor of millions of Cambodians… a dictator who oppressed and threatened many Cambodian Americans living in the Lowell community.
I might remind Lowell’s governing body that veterans took the time out of their busy schedules… years in some cases to lay down in the mud, the muck and see their buddies’ blood and guts, so that this council would have the freedom to legislate and recognize… or ignore the recipients of the “Walter Bayliss Lowell Veteran of the Month Award”.
As many of our veterans are ignored across this country, the Lowell City Council created and enacted a Commission to help our veterans. The first in the state, I might add… Let’s not take that tremendous gesture and wash it away, by not doing what it right.
So I will be appealing to the elected Lowell City Council, my fellow citizens and neighbors… I will be requesting that they don’t push these worthy veteran award recipients to the shadows. Not on their watch… and I’m certainly not going to allow it on mine.