Memorial Day Observance At Otis Memorial Park
by U.S. Air Force Timothy Sandland,
102nd Intelligence Wing
May 29, 2021
The Otis Civilian Advisory Council joined together with the host
units of Joint Base Cape Cod in holding a Memorial Day Observance
here on May 27, 2021.
Service members from the military commands of Joint Base Cape Cod joined together with the Otis Civilian Advisory Council in observing Memorial Day during a ceremony held at Otis Memorial Park, Joint Base Cape Cod on May 27, 2021. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photos by Timothy Sandland, 102nd Intelligence Wing.)
The annual event honors all men and women who have died in
military service for the United States, and in particular, those
with ties to the Joint Base Cape Cod community.
hosted by OCAC President, Mrs.
Vonnie Jacquard, the occasion drew a gathering of military and
civilians from around the installation and from the local community.
Featured guests included Brig. Gen. Christopher Faux, Executive
Director of JBCC; Col. Sean Riley, commander of the 102nd
Intelligence Wing; and Col. Matthew Porter, commander of Camp
Edwards. Civilian leaders included directors and officers from the
OCAC, past presidents of the organization, as well as Mr. Don Cox,
president of the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation.
The solemn event was marked by a touching speech by Space Force Lt.
Col. Timothy “Skip” Sheehan, commander of the 6th Space Warning
Squadron who began by highlighting the kinship shared by all who
wear the uniform.
“There is a special and intense connection
you make with fellow servicemen and women. We develop close bonds
with those around us,” said Sheehan. “We may give each other a hard
time, in jest of course, but when it comes time to get the job done,
we’re ready and willing to stand shoulder to shoulder against
whatever threat we may face.”
During the ceremony, wreaths of
flowers were placed by memorial stones encircling the large
reflecting pool in the center of the park, representing and honoring
those lost in service to the nation.
“To family and friends
of a fallen hero, losing a loved one is an enduring grief,” said Lt.
Col. Sheehan. “To lose a loved one who heroically risked their life
for our country’s freedom leaves a permanent scar built of both pain
On May 5, 1868, only three years after the Civil
War ended, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the national commander of the
Grand Army of the Republic, established what is now known as
Memorial Day as a day for the nation memorialize those, as he
described, “who died in defense of their country during the late
rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village,
and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Decoration Day, Logan’s mandate to the GAR, a veterans group of
former Union Army soldiers, was to decorate the graves of the war
dead with flowers. He declared that Decoration Day should be
observed on May 30 each year. The common belief is that the end of
May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom across the nation
at that time.
Logan’s orders to GAR posts stated, “In this
observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades
will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials
of respect as circumstances may permit.”
The first large
observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery.
Government and military officials from Washington, including Gen.
and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After the
formalities, members of the GAR, accompanied by children orphaned by
the war, made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on
graves of fallen Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.
guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated
wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and
security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain
defenders.” Gen. Logan’s order read.
“Let us, then, at the
time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the
passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime;
let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor;
let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist
those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the
The sentiment felt at this year’s
observance parallels what was felt at the first Memorial Day
ceremony at Arlington so many years ago. Then, as now, the unique
blend of “pain and pride” was the underlying sensation felt by all.
Validating those feelings, Lt. Col. Sheehan said, “On this
day, we honor and remember those to whom we may have never had a
chance to say goodbye who we honor due to their sacrifice.”
The sacrifice, and the reverence we place on it, forms the honor and
pride we feel for those whom we memorialize.
Advisory Council, Inc., founded in 1947, is an organization of
civilian and military members committed to establishing
communication and understanding between the military units assigned
to Joint Base Cape Cod and their neighbors. In 1969, the OCAC built
Otis Memorial Park to honor 50 fallen military personnel that had
perished in three different crashes while assigned to Otis Air Force
Base and Camp Edwards. It also honors military members who died in
service to their nation.
Spanning 22,000 acres, Joint Base
Cape Cod is a full-scale, joint-use base that is home to five major
military commands that operate and train for missions at home and
overseas in a partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and others.
The Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Guardians, and civilian
employees of JBCC conduct airborne search and rescue, cyber and
traditional intelligence, ballistic missile early warning, cyber
engineering and installation, expeditionary medical support as well
as training on these and in many other areas that prepare service
members for operational assignments overseas as well as here at
home, serving and protecting the Commonwealth and the nation.
America's Best | America's Greatest
Our Valiant Troops | Veterans |
Answering The Call |
Honoring The Fallen |
Don't Weep For Me |
Remember The Fallen |
Tears For Your Fallen |