Congrats to Westborough TV on their fabulous new space!
I had the honor of presenting citations to four Eagle Scouts today! Congratulations Timothy, Daniel, John and Justin! Amazing Boy Scout programs and dedicated Scout leaders and supportive families in Westborough and Shrewsbury - my 6th Eagle Scout Court in less than two months in office. All the Scouts have done wonderful projects in our community.
Honored to speak today at Spectrum Health System's Grand Opening of the Charles J. Faris Recovery Center in Westborough. This state of the art treatment center will help 100 people struggling with the disease of addiction, and is named after the President and CEO who has "walked the walk" for 46 years helping people.
As part of my remarks today I read a poem written by a 20 year old addict Natalie Cribari that I shared on my fb page last week. Three months before Natalie died of a heroin overdose she wrote a raw and searing poem on the allure of the drug, a poem that causes discomfort because it so accurately depicts the lust of the addict to the power of the drug. Natalie died in 2005, and my hope is that we all get more uncomfortable with how easy it is to become addicted to this lustful villain so that we provide the resources necessary to release its' grip on our family and community members.
Horizons for Homeless Children held their annual Central MA event to celebrate PALS and Shelter Liaisons who volunteer and play with children in an effort to provide their parent(s) a small break or ability to attend an appointment. There are over 16,000 children age birth to 5 years old who are homeless in MA; over 97% of the children have moved more than once in the past year, over 25% have witnessed violence in their lives and 22% are separated from their family. The average age of a homeless person in MA is 8 years old.
The 160 active "PALS" in Central MA help these children by being with them and allowing them to play like young children, leaving the reality of their world for a bit and just letting them be a kid. Tonight James Roche of Shrewsbury was honored for his ongoing volunteer work at the Worcester Community Housing family shelter. Donating 2 hours a week makes an enormous difference in the lives of these young children.
I was honored to attend this event tonight, along with Senator Harriette Chandler, who has been a strong advocate for homeless children and Horizons for Homeless Children in the Senate.
This afternoon I attended a "No Olympics" presentation which was timely given the newly released bid book indicating the need for public funding for land acquisition and infrastructure needs. On my first day in office I heard an update from the Olympic bid committee andI look forward to an actual plan from the Olympic bid committee so we can have a realistic conversation about whether or not pursuit of the Olympics is in the best interest of the Commonwealth.
Read report highlights here.
At Tuft's in Medford tonight for the second Transportation Committee hearing on the Governor's MBTA legislation.
Had the pleasure of attending the Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science at WPI App Fair today - super talented students who have developed in 9 short weeks different apps that solve real problems. Congressman McGovern was testing the Political IQ app and no surprise he did really well!! Great to see all the colleges and universities that these bright students will attend in the fall.
Terribly sad and moving annual "Missing Children's Day" gathering at the State House today. Led by Magi Bish, many mothers, sisters and friends stood to say their missing loved ones name. I remember standing in my kitchen watching the news and hearing of Molly Bish missing. While Molly Bish's remains were sadly found years after she went missing, her parents have dedicated their lives to making sure no other family suffers the same loss, and for any family who has they make sure that missing child is not forgotten. There were missing children noted as far back as the early 70's today and some who went missing within the last few weeks.
The Molly Bish Foundation came to SHARC years ago when Madison and Caitlin were in preschool and we had a "Molly Bish Life Guard Safety Kit" done for each girl that I carried with us everywhere and later had one made for Patrick. These photo and finger printing kits can be crucial time saving tools for police should a child ever go missing. As a mother watching today's ceremony my heart broke watching the lifetime of pain these families suffer from, and yet somehow in all their pain these families seek not only to bring their child home but to prevent any other family from experiencing their daily hell. Thank you to Representative Todd Smola and Senator Anne Gobi for their work at the State House to make sure we are always doing what we can to protect children.
Today I had the honor of participating in Shrewsbury and Westborough’s Memorial Day parades and remembrances. In Westborough I delivered the following remarks to the many community members gathered together to mark the day.
Thank you for the honor of being here with all of you today as we gather to remember the sacrifices that our service members - our family, friends and community members - have made in honor of duty, honor and country.
My earliest memories of Memorial Day are the many flags adorning our homes, our cemeteries and our parades. From a young age I always understood our flag to represent the very best our country had to offer. I understood that our flag stood as a visual reminder of all the faces I would never see, of all the patriots I would never meet. It stood for all of those, who stood for the flag, who stood for me, who stood for you, in their last stand and challenge for all that is good and right and free, against all that was evil and pervasive.
So for me, the flag in all its glory, nearly 37,000 of them on the Boston Common this week representing all the servicemen and women who have given their lives since the Revolutionary War for our Commonwealth and Country, is the enduring, symbol of steel strength and resolve that our long lost are never long forgotten.
I knew there was limited opportunity for me as one individual to show that I understood the inextricable link between service and sacrifice, that faint -line between life and death that leads to a lifetime of pain and pride for a military member’s family. And yet I, like you, knew that it was our duty to stand and remember for all of our days, those that have no more.
Our gatherings, our ceremonies, our remembrances, are our collective effort at ensuring that those that gave all they had, to protect all that we have, will not be forgotten.
Nearly 150 years ago, with America still reeling from the Civil War, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation that “The 30th of May would be an occasion to honor those who died in conflict.”
The 30th of May was originally chosen as Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it was then called) because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. However, on 28 June 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May.
Many, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), indicated concern with the moving of the date, saying “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
Beginning in 1987 Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, introduced a measure to return Memorial Day to its traditional date. Inouye continued introducing the resolution every Congress until his death in 2012. In his introductory remarks to the bill he introduced in 1999 he stated:
“Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize our flag to fly at half-mast on that day. In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation.” (1999 Congressional Record, page S621)
It is important that those of us here mark Senator Daniel Inouye’s request that we stay steadfast in our commitment to Memorial Day as a somber day of remembrance; a day when Americans go to cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It is a day to remember ancestors, family members, loved ones and community members who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It is important that all of us remember and honor – not just those intimately reeling from an enormous personal loss, but especially those of us who stand here without personal loss and yet fully cognizant of the cost born by others so that we can an Americans, and be free.
While the duty of our brave men and women who lost their lives defending our nation has ended, our duty begins anew each and every Memorial Day to keep their service and sacrifice utmost in our collective memories and to ensure that our children and grandchildren know the meaning and symbolism of this remembrance day as Memorial Day, not the conveniently scheduled 3-day commercialized weekend celebrated as the start of summer. May God bless all of our brave who have been silenced so that we may live a life of freedom.