The sun was shining bright in the middle of the day on Monday, May 30th; when a few hundred Bridgewater residents gathered to pay tribute to those in all branches of the US military who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The program was planned and orchestrated by the Bridgewater Veteran’s Memorial Committee.
Surrounded by the beautiful Veteran’s Memorial overlooking the great lake, the program began with a moving prelude performed by bagpipers Peggy and Mark Gaudreau. The United States flag was raised by residents Don Eckert and Tom Clarke. Reverend Ray Leonard gave the opening prayer from Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church.
Led by Resident John Brolly, chairman of the Veteran’s Committee Trustees, he opened the ceremony with introductions of the Veteran’s Committee officers presented the opening remarks, and read the names of the newly installed engraved memorial bricks.
A special memorial wreath was placed on the US flagpole by residents Jim Ranieri, Craig Huber, and Rev. Leonard.
The crowd recited the pledge of allegiance, followed by singing the National Anthem, led by singer Maddie Esposito.
Special guest speaker, The Honorable Russell Fry, South Carolina State Representative gave some memorable remarks followed by bagpipes paying musical tribute to each branch of the armed forces. Residents stood when their branch was played. TAPS and a closing prayer were given. To conclude the service, the crowd sang God Bless America, led by Ms. Esposito.
A new graduate of the United States Naval Academy was in attendance, 2nd Lieutenant Mark Rigano, son of Residents Susan and Tony Rigano shared an inspirational story that was both impromptu and appropriate for the occasion.
Closing the ceremony was a touching rendition of Amazing Grace by the bagpipers, which gave a solemn reminder of the many sacrifices given and reason for remembering.
Bridgewater Veterans Memorial Committee John Brolly, Chair, Craig Huber, Vice-Chair, James Ranieri, Adjutant, Al Dyling, Treasurer, John Scanlin, Secretary. BJ Richardson provided the music.
"The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom" Abraham Lincoln, wrote to Mrs. Lydia Bixby after losing five sons in the Civil War.