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A gold star father and an Air Force reservist were among the observers at the town’s Nov. 11 tribute to veterans.
Military veteran Daniel Provost whose son, also named Daniel, died during a military training exercise in 1992, was one of nine veterans seated front row, center inside the Westford fire station. Paying tribute to them were state Rep. James Arciero (D-Westford), and Selectman Chairman Scott Hazelton.
The event was coordinated by Veteran Services Officer Terry Stader who said the veterans fought “to preserve our way of life,” and reminded attendees the U.S. has been fighting in the Middle East for 16 years.
“A lot has happened over these 16 years,” said Stader. “Three million service members have deployed since 9-11, 2001. And almost half of them have deployed a second time.”
Arciero recognized Stader, who retired in 1999 from the U.S. Navy as a senior chief electronics technician. He had served for 28 years of active and reserve duty.
“Our veterans services officer ensures that every veteran receives the benefits that they need and deserve,” Arciero said. “…Each and everyone of us can and should give back. That’s how we honor our veterans.”
Hazelton reminded attendees that service members have families who sacrifice, along with the veterans.
“I want to say thank you to veterans but also thank you to their spouses and families…,” he said.
Seated with Brownie Troop 62682 in full uniform was Major Kristin Hort who joined the Air Force 15 years ago and spent eight years on active duty before becoming a reservist.
“I’ve lived in Westford for four years,” Hort said.
Provost’s son was training at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas in a simulated combat exercise during the Persian Gulf War. The tank he was in rolled over, killing him, said Provost. The younger Provost served in the 509 Airborne Infantry Battalion. He was 22 when he died.
“It was a long time ago,” said the father.