Annual Veterans Day Ceremony Set for Nov. 11 at Bellingham Library
Oct 30, 2018 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Placing a wreathe at last year's ceremony are (L-R) Sgt. Samuel Cowell, Sgt. Kenneth Morrell and LTC Frank Moore
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Staff Writer
Marine Corps Colonel James E. Donnellan will be the keynote speaker for the sixth annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11 at the Bellingham Public Library at 1 p.m.
“The event will focus primarily on celebrating veterans who have served their country in war and in peacetime,” said Jim Hastings, the chairman of the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Committee. “It’s a day to honor their commitment and their courage.”
The day will also mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and Hastings will present a video detailing that war and the impact it had throughout the world. “It’s 100 years later and we still have men and women who step up to answer the call to defend their country,” said Hastings, a Marine who served in Viet Nam.
A native of Old Bridge, NJ, Col. Donnellan graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 1988 and received his commission via a Marine Corps NROTC scholarship. After graduation, he reported to Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as a Platoon Commander and Executive Officer. He completed two deployments to Okinawa and a deployment to Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
From 1993 to 1998, Col. Donnellan was assigned to a variety of posts in Virginia, Camp Pendleton and Maine. His duties included Infantry Task Analyst, Commanding Officer and Inspector-Instructor. In 2001, he became Executive Officer of the First Battalion, 8th Marines, and served on the ground in Iraq and Liberia.
From 2005 to 2006, he deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines to Jalalabad, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and later was deployed to the Haditha Triad of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2007, he relinquished command and reported to the Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he graduated with Highest Distinction.
Col. Donnellan later served as Deputy Chief (strategy division), Officer in Charge of Special Operations Training, Regional Commander (Afghanistan) and Assistant Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander with the Marine Corps Forces in Europe and Africa. He took command of the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadow, CA, in 2016 and relinquished that command in June 2018.
Col. Donnellan’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. Now retired, he and his wife, Christine, have three daughters.
David Frazier, a retired U.S. Army Major, whose career spanned 23 years, will also be speaking. He enlisted in 1977, underwent basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, then did his advanced individual training as a watercraft engineer at Fort Eustis, VA.
Completing his enlisted tour in 1980, Maj. Frazier joined the Massachusetts National Guard and spent 20 years as a logistics officer deployed up and down the East Coast. In 1989, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Framingham State and finished his officer training (ROTC) in 1984 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A resident of Bellingham for 27 years, he and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons.
U.S. Army veterans Kevin Heenan and Johnny Hayes, Bellingham residents, are also scheduled to speak.
The program will begin with the presentation of colors by the Blackstone Valley Young Marines followed by the National Anthem, sung by Joseph Oliver, a Bellingham High graduate who’s now a freshman at UMass-Dartmouth. Rev. Baron Rodrigues, pastor of the First Baptist Church, will deliver the invocation before Library Director Bernadette Rivard’s welcoming remarks.
Hastings will offer the program’s opening remarks before the speakers address those attending. Oliver then will sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which will be followed with a closing prayer by Rev. Richard Mosher, pastor of the Bible Baptist Church. The Blackstone Valley young Marines will retire the colors before a wreath is laid at the outdoor flag pole. The program will conclude with Fr. David Mullin, pastor of St. Brendan’s Church, offering a prayer for veterans followed by the playing of “Taps.”
The public is invited to the ceremony and those attending will be given a packet of poppy seeds (distributed by Cub Scout Pack 118, Wolf Den), reinforcing the significance and importance of World War I. All veterans attending and their family members are invited to a turkey dinner at the Bellingham VFW at 3 p.m.