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Peabody remembers the fallen on Memorial Day

By Christopher Roberson

GENERATIONS OF VALOR: During the City’s Memorial Day ceremonies in front of City Hall Monday, Mayor Edward Bettencourt presented the Challenge Coin to WWII Marines Veteran Al Scotina, Sr., shown being supported by his grandson, Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant Michael Scotina, who recently returned from Afghanistan. See more photo highlights on pages 5–7. (Advocate photo by Ross Scabin)

Following this year’s Memorial Day parade residents and veterans joined city and state officials in front of City Hall for the weekend’s final ceremony on May 28. During the ceremony, Robert Dunne, commander of the Peabody Veterans Council, called attention to the four stone memorials with the names of those from Peabody who were lost in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Dunne said many of those soldiers still had their whole lives in front of them. “Look at the ages of these young men,” he said. “These men put on the uniform, swore an oath and died in combat – that’s a very powerful thought.”

Mayor Edward Bettencourt presented a Challenge Coin to veteran Al Scotina, Sr., who, along with his two brothers, served in the Marines during World War II. “From April 1943 through March 1946 the Scotina boys had a continuous presence overseas in support of combat operations,” he said. Bettencourt also said Scotina’s son, Al Scotina, Jr., had been a Peabody Police officer and is now a sergeant with the Lynnfield Police Department. Scotina’s grandson, Michael Scotina, is a staff sergeant in the Army’s Special Forces and recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

Reading a narrative from Michael’s commanding officer, Bettencourt said that on Feb. 21, Michael’s unit was pinned down under heavy fire from enemy snipers, 40-millimeter guns and rocket-propelled grenades. To make matters worse, his unit was running out of ammunition and his team leader had been shot in the neck.

“Staff Sgt. Scotina began running in the open and returned with 600 rounds of M249 ammunition and a spare barrel,” Bettencourt said as he read from the narrative. “Staff Sgt. Scotina directly saved the life of the team leader.”

In addition, Bettencourt presented Medals of Liberty to the families of the following servicemen who were killed in action: Army Pvt. First Class Edward Cormier, Marine Pvt. James Hubisz, Army Pvt. Daniel Flynn, Army Sgt. Ralph Maney, Marine Pvt. First Class Paul Trainor, Army Pvt. First Class James Sintomas, Carpenter’s Mate Clarence Williams of the Coast Guard and Army Pvt. Ralph Yonis.

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