The November skies may have been a mottled shade of gray, but old glory's red, white and blue beamed brightly in the foreground, snapping briskly in the late autumn, ocean breeze.
"The sign says 'The Home of the Free, Because of the Brave'," said Barnstable Town Council President Fred Chirigotis, and added "Freedom isn't free."
No two phrases uttered this morning on the Hyannis Village Green could have depicted better the chief purpose in townsfolk coming together to memorialize those who have served and those who still serve the country. Nor could such statements have better characterized the service of dozens, if not hundreds, of Cape Cod veterans who were on hand to represent service during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The speech given by Chirigotis as well as event emcee and Barnstable Director of Veterans Services Edward Merigan, and many others, were the culmination of the annual Veterans Day Parade down Main Street, Hyannis.
Barnstable Police on gleaming chrome motorcycles and firemen carrying axes, Girl and Boy Scouts, musket-toting colonial militia, a kilted, sole bagpiper leading the way and even an authentic US Army 6 ton camouflage truck rolled and marched from the town hall parking lot, down South Street and eventually along Main Street before turning past sculptor David Lewis's bronze likeness of the Sachem Iyannough and onto the Village Green.
Chirigotis's speech was brief but poignant in its reflection of the reason why so many had convened to pay respect to the Nation's military. Barnstable High School Marching Band member Carolyn Capparella sang a moving rendition of Amazing Grace. The Barnstable High School Marching Band offered its usual precision in its playing of the National Anthem. While pomp and circumstance may have been the order of the day, there seemed to be an air of gratefulness, unity and hope for a more prosperous future in recalling the expansive sacrifices and lives laid down so all in attendance could be assured the ability to live peacefully and free.
Hand salutes punctuated each moment during the services, just as the resounding lyrics did of God Bless the USA from Barnstable Police Officer Dan Clark. Barnstable Cub Scouts in their blue and gold stood at attention. Wreaths were laid at the base of the Village Green podium in honor of those who've served in World Wars I & II as well as the Korean War and Vietnam.
Every branch of service was represented.
Barely a dry eye could be seen.
It was a day of honor and a day of pride not likely to be forgotten.