Please allow me to be very personal this morning. Veterans Day is a time for remembering. In our families there are so many men and women who served the country – in wartime, in the eras of war and in peacetime. In our own extended family the service ranges from the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Viet Nam-era, the Gulf War and up to the conflicts of the “here and now.” It was in the Army, the Army Medical Corps and Dental Corps, the Navy, the Navy Medical Service, Navy attached to the Marines as Corpsman, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Air Force Medical Service, the Coast Guard and support services. From foot soldier, artillery man, medical officer, Commodore, Pharmacist’s Mate, corpsman, Army medic, nurse and quartermaster to cook, interpreter, communications guru, swabby, airbourne-medic, dental officer, and bomber pilot – their jobs were done in theaters from Europe to the Pacific to the Middle East and Asia. Most said little about the experience and the service. A few stayed in the service but most went on into civilian lives and honorable work and professions.
We descendants of the Meehans/Kirwins/Deignans/Sweeneys/Callahans think of our family/ extended family honor roll of Veterans today – including: in the Civil War Michael and John Callahan; Spanish-America war Joseph P. Meehan, in World War I… Dr. Patrick J. Meehan, Commodore J. Henry Meehan, James A. Deignan, Sr., William R. Deignan, Bill Callahan, in WWII, Korea, Vietnam-era and beyond… James J. Kirwin (my father), Jack Kirwin and Henry Kirwin, Leo Cucinelli, Dick Stanton, James A. Deignan, Robert L. Deignan and Bill Deignan, Joe Lussier, Don MacLean, Ken Kirwin, the James Sweeneys (the father in WWI and the son in WWII), Charles Sweeney, Dr. Felix Sweeney, Dr. Tom Sweeney, Dr. Brian Sweeney, Dr. Brian Sweeney, Jr., Dr. Jeffrey Sweeney, Joe and Jim Sweeney, Peter Sweeney, Leo Redding, Sr., John Callahan, Ruth Callahan Nunnery, RN, Dr. Bill Callahan, Steve Eastham, Leo Redding, Jr., Robert Kilmartin (active), Jim Nunnery, Mark Nunnery, Steve Nunnery, Bill Collins, Dr. David Burke, my brother Bill Kirwin, cousins, nephews and in-laws … Billy Deignan, Bobby Deignan, Louis Karosas, John Patrick Kirwin, Patrick Kirwin, Scott Willman, Andy Kirwin, Tom Owens, Michael Owens, Rob Edmonds and now on active duty Matthew Willman, USMC, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Owens, USAF. Most are long gone but certainly not forgotten… they are greatly cherished and honored for their service, commitment, patriotism and legacy to the family. May those who have left us, rest in peace. (Please forgive me for any missed… and please give me their names to add to the roll.)
Dr. Patrick J. Meehan (1978-1958), US Army Medical Corps/ WWI (later Medical Director, Tewksbury State Hospital)
James J. Kirwin (1922-1996), US Navy, Pharmacists Mate – 2nd Class, attached to the U. S. Marines, WWII, Pacific Theater (our dad)
James Sweeney (1924-2008), US Navy aviator pictured in his Curtiss Hell Diver… 1945 and in his dress whites / Pacific Theater / Navy Cross, Silver Star and Air Medal recipient inducted into the UMass Lowell Veterans Hall of Fame in 2013