For many of us, Memorial Day offers an opportunity to take a moment and be grateful for sacrifices made decades ago and many miles away. For our senior citizens, though, Memorial Day can feel a lot more personal. Some are veterans who saw combat and lost friends; others are spouses of serviceman who made real sacrifices of their own so that their loved ones could serve. All in all, about roughly 12 million of our population 65 and up have served in some capacity, with the largest single cohort coming from Baby Boomers who served in Vietnam. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs predicts that seniors will represent at least 40% of the veteran population for the next 25 years.
We certainly see these numbers bear out in our LCB communities, where many of our residents either served in the armed forces or were military spouses. Memorial Day is an especially meaningful day for both our seniors and staff, who come together to remember, reflect, and celebrate both their own experience as veterans, and the sacrifices made by friends and family who’ve served our country.
At the Residence at Silver Square in Dover NH, our community spent Memorial Day dedicating its first ever Veterans’ Wall! Its flag (top), which was flown over the White House, was donated to us by the local Marjorie Sullivan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). It arrived with a certificate stating that it was flown in Washington specifically in honor of Silver Square veterans! Resident Arthur Dubois, seen to the left of the flag, shared his experiences serving in the Navy during World War II. He was joined by WWII veteran Linden Labbe (also a Silver Square resident), as well as representatives of the US Navy, UNH ROTC Air Force, the DAR, and various friends and family members.
At the Residence at Pearl Street in Reading MA, community members gathered Memorial Day morning for a special prayer led by fellow resident Mary, who is a former Marine. After singing patriotic songs, residents and staff joined in a special tribute to spouses of military, for their own tremendous sacrifices and those of their loved ones.
Here are other moments from this year’s celebrations: