Reverence, time, and remembrance were the main themes of the Memorial Day assembly, which commemorated the “men and women who have fought for our freedom and sacrificed their lives in service to our great country”.
The assembly, which took place on Friday afternoon at 1:30 pm, was led by Senior Nic Acuna and included choral performances from the MHS Choral Arts Society, a trumpet solo by Alicia Devereaux, a poetry recitation by Junior Ariana Teixeira, speeches from dignitaries, Kevin Jarvis and Sergeant Major Paul Ronan, as well as addresses given by Mayor Gary Christenson and Principal Ted Lombardi. Acuna led various readings, one of which was The Gettysburg Address written by Abraham Lincoln. This particular text was described as one of two “important literary works that [reflected] the significance of Memorial Day”. The second work was In Flanders Field written by John McCrae, performed by Teixeira.
Christenson's opening remarks reminded audience members of the significance of Memorial Day. He began with a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt which stated: “those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time [those] [who] have died to win them”. Christenson stated the significance of the community that was built in commemorating the veterans who fought in defense of our country. He concluded by saying that “it [was] important to not only recognize their service but to also honor their devotion to duty and make certain that the purpose for which they fought [would] not be forgotten”.
Next, the Choral Arts Society performed two verse of the Star Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited to punctuate the commencement of the assembly.
Following this, Jarvis, Director of Veteran Services for the City of Malden, gave a brief speech about his experience in the Marine Corps and his current profession in Veteran Services and recounted this history of the United States Military and World War I, the “war to end all wars”. The message in Jarvis’ prose was to encourage the audience to “remember the tremendous lost [soldiers] providing freedom...for us today”. He mentioned the names of veterans of Malden who have passed away to show the local impact that combat still has on the city of Malden.
Another speech was given by Sergeant Major Paul Ronan who was described as having an “unwavering commitment to continuing the legacy of those who have served before” by Lombardi, whom he formerly worked alongside by at Lawrence High School. The crux of Ronan’s speech was to shed light on the invaluableness of time, “the most valuable commodity...throughout [one’s] life”. He urged those in attendance to utilize their time to reflect on the importance of the Memorial Day holiday at the apex of the following week.
Subsequently, there was a ringing of bells which was symbolic of the midnight watch and represented “the soul awakening and the start of a glorious day”. The bell was rung by Acuna four times in two rhythmic beats creating “a sense of hope for a better tomorrow” and “reminding listeners of the importance of the call to peace”.
Following the ringing of the bells was the laying of the wreath. This showed a “similar and simple gesture” as the commemoration performed at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia performed every half hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This ceremony was led by Captain Mark Capansky of the United States Marine Corps joined by representatives of the JROTC program of Lawrence High School.