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Gold Star Tree Lighting Returns to State House

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   December 8, 2022-BOSTON- Last week, Gold Star Families returned to Memorial Hall to host the annual Christmas Tree lighting in its’ traditional spot, after last year’s ceremony took place outdoors due to COVID-19 precautions. The ceremony included speeches by Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Attorney General and Governor-Elect Maura Healey as well as several others, along with various singing performances and a reading of T’was the Night Before Christmas, by First Lady Lauren Baker. Rep. Joe McGonagle was among the crowd of elected officials at the event.

   “This is truly one of my favorite events at the State House,” said McGonagle. “These families have been through the ringer and this time of year is a poignant reminder of their loss, so to allow us to be a part of this ceremony with them is incredible. I thought all the speakers were great and really zeroed in on the importance of sacrifice, remembering the fallen and doing what we can as Massachusetts lawmakers to protect our heroes, provide for their loved ones and honor their memories. I’m very proud of us as a Commonwealth as the nation’s leader in veteran benefits and support for military families.”

   The highlight of the ceremony comes when each family takes to the podium to share the name, rank and hometown of their loved one and places a personalized ornament on the tree in their honor. Remembering servicemembers from World War II to 2022, dozens of families gathered together to celebrate the lives of the fathers, grandfathers, daughters, uncles and many more. Included in this was Ms. Robin Abbott, who honored her late son Jason Welch, a 2000 Everett High Grad and football player who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jason was a member of the 1999 Everett High Super Bowl Championship team and enlisted in the Army in 2004. He is survived by several family members, including his daughter Isabella Welch.

   “It’s always important for me to attend events with veterans, servicemembers and families but especially today when we have one of Everett’s own being honored. Although I did not know Jason personally, I have heard from several across the City, including his former football coaches, just what an incredible guy he was. Speaking with his mother Robin painted that picture even more clearly so I’m grateful to be able to honor one of Everett’s heroes, especially during the holidays. I’m grateful to Ms. Abbott for keeping her son’s memory alive and to all those who help put on this ceremony that does the same, including Rep. Paul McMurtry, Senator Walter Timilty, the Military Friends Foundation and many more. I am sending love and gratitude to all these families during this holiday season.”

   The tree is on display to the public in Memorial Hall at the State House through the holiday season.

Military Friends-2
Military Friends Foundation
Welch Ornament (2)-2
An ornament representing Jason Welch, a 2000 Everett High Grad and football player who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Gold Star Family Tree returns to State House

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