Join fellow members of the Burlington community, town officials, public safety officers and veterans to honor those men and women of the armed services who gave their lives in the defense of our country.
Burlington’s 2016 Memorial Day ceremonies, hosted by the Town of Burlington’s Veteran Service Office & the Allied Veterans Council, will take place on Monday, May 27. There will be a short Flag Raising ceremony at 8 a.m. on the Town Common followed by the main ceremony at 10 a.m. at Chestnut Hill Cemetery.
The theme of this year’s ceremony is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Invasion into Normandy.
The guest speaker this year will be Colonel Leonard H. Kieley who fought in the battles across Europe in the wake of the Normandy invasion.
Born September 21, 1920, Kieley grew up in Bedford and went to high school in Lexington, a release from Burlington’s Veterans Services says. He joined the U.S. Army after the start of WWII, entering into service as a Tanker and graduated from the Tank Main Officers Course out of Fort Knox, Ky. He started as a Tank Platoon Commander in the famous 4th Armored Division, training throughout the U.S. from 1942 to late 1943.
Col Kieley and the 4th Armored Division left Boston on December 29, 1943 to head to Southern England to prepare for the invasion into Normandy on D-Day. Col Kieley and his unit landed days after D-Day and spearheaded General Patton’s Third Army from Normandy, and participated in every major battle in the European Theater to include the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, through Germany, eventually stopping in Prague.
Col Kieley and his men of the 4th Armored Division liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops. Col Kieley served alongside some of the most recognizable officers in U.S. Army history, serving with Major Gen. John Shirley Wood, Major Gen. Hugh Gaffey and Ceighton Abrams (Eventually becoming the Army Chief of Staff and having the M1 Abrams Tank named after him).
His Unit received immense recognition for their efforts during the war, as one of the only units in WWII that fought for over a year straight. Col Kieley himself earned two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star medal for valor on the battlefield.
The ceremony will feature music by Bagpiper Joe McGrath and the BHS Marching Band. The High School Trumpets and American Legion Rifle Squad will play TAPS and offer a rifle salute. Veterans Services Director Chris Hanafin will give opening remarks and Chaplin (Reverend) Francesco Passamonte will offer the Invocation and Closing Prayer. Art Enos will read the list of Veterans who have passed since Memorial Day 2018.