Medfield pays homage at Baxter Park

All at Baxter Park stand for the firing squad during the Memorial Day ceremony.

By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

It’s not uncommon to run into a bit of traffic at the junction of routes 109 and 27 in Medfield. While sitting at the intersection, waiting for the light to turn green, many will notice the grassy field and stone memorial on Baxter Park. While they may wonder about the words carved into the stone, the thought quickly passes as the traffic light changes and Baxter Park disappears from the rearview mirror.

This Memorial Day, however, as it does on every Memorial Day, the community gathered at Baxter Park to honor the town’s veterans.

The morning began with a parade down Main Street, which led the veterans and neighbors to the park. Following the parade, Jane Clifford of Medfield High School sang the national anthem, and Blake Middle School seventh-grader Ella Kidd recited the Gettysburg Address.

Retired U.S. Navy Captain John O’Connell, formerly of Medfield, spoke about his career in the Navy and why Memorial Day is such a treasured day to him.

He told the community members crowded at Baxter Park about working on an aircraft carrier, the dangers associated with it, and how some even lost their lives.

“Remembering these shipmates, who lost their lives in day-to-day operations on an aircraft carrier, their families and friends, is why Memorial Day is very special to me,” O’Connell said.

“Many of them didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight in distant battlefields on oceans. Many didn’t volunteer. They didn’t go to war because they love fighting. They went because they were called to be part of something bigger than themselves,” he continued. “They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times. In short, they rose to the call of duty.”

Joining for the Memorial Day ceremony were the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Medfield Lions, and the Medfield High School band. Led by Doug Olsen, the band played an assortment of patriotic songs.

Father Gregory Vozzo also visited Baxter Park to unite community members and veterans in a benediction.

The ceremony also called for the placing of the wreaths by Past Commander Al Manganello, Jr., a prayer from Chaplain Phil Burr, and the playing of “Taps” by Medfield High’s Justin Plakias and Kyle Infantino.

As the ceremony at Baxter Park came to an end, Memorial Day Committee Chairman William Burr invited all to gather at Beckwith Post 110 for the raising of the flag - and to continue honoring those who served our country.

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