“The Medal Of Liberty is only presented to families killed in action or died of wounds, as a result of enemy action,” explained Framingham Veterans Agent Peter Harvell.
The medals were presented to family members of:
- Fred Murphy, a World War I veteran
- Elio Bonvini, a World War II veteran
- Luigi D. Ferrazzi, a World War II veteran
- Alessandro L. Falconi, a World War II veteran
- Merton L. Chouinard, aa World War II veteran
- Philip Rogers Thomas, a Korean War veteran
Many of the family members never met the family member, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Harvell pinned the medal on Martha Conley, whose great uncle died almost 100 years ago during World War I.
Joan Thomas accepted the medal for her uncle, who died in Korea, in 1950, at the age of 19.
Framingham's Frank Falconi accepted the medal for his brother Alessandro "Sandy" Falconi, who was killed during World War II. A radio operator/gunner, Falconi died on Aug. 26 1944, when the aircraft he was on was struck and crashed at Friesenheimer island.
For those who live in the Tripoli section of Framingham, Luigi Ferrazzi, who was killed and honored with a small memorial at Roosevelt Park was awarded the Medal of Liberty. He grew up on Wilson Avenue, a street away from the park.
Richard Bonvini accepted the medal on behalf of his uncle Elio, who was killed during World War II.
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Major Michael Currie, who is based at the National Guard Armory in Framingham. He began his military career in 1990 and talked about his service and his find while serving in Afghanistan.
Currie, showed the standing room crowd fro the ceremony, an Enfield 1859 Tower Co. rifle given to him in Afghanistan. Made in England, it was the same type of weapon sued by the Union Army during the Civil War.
"It is often said that you can judge a man by how he treats his mother. Well I believe that we can also judge a country and a community by how well we treat our veterans," said Framingham Selectman Cheryl Tully Stoll.
Framingham State Rep. Tom Sannicandro said that Massachusetts is #1 in the nation for what it does for its Veterans.
Tully Stoll spoke of the need to help returning veterans, who need not only physical help but mental help too.
"Over the past few generations, military field medicine has evolved greatly. Many who would have died in previous generations now are saved through new triage techniques and heroic measures," said Tully Stoll. "These men and women are coming home alive, but many of them and those they served with are not coming home to a life they ever envisioned."
"Some will have physical for which they will need perpetual treatment," said Tully Stoll. "Others do not have physical injuries; their scars are hidden, and they too could suffer from these for the rest of their lives if not properly treated.
Tully Stoll said it is time to remove the stigma associated with mental illness."
"These soldiers are not weak; they are stronger than most of us. War just put them through more than the human mind and spirit could endure ... We now need to do our duty and accept them, appreciate them and help them get the treatment that will give them, and those who love them, their lives back."
Before the ceremony inside the Memorial Building, there was a short parade featuring Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts as well as a handful of Veterans, led by the Framingham Fire Department Honor Guard.
Sadly, despite the large crowd for the Town's ceremony, few Veterans attended.