By ELIZABETH MACAULEY
Chronicle Staff Writer
MANSFIELD â€” Veterans Day allows us to unite and celebrate those who have served our country in both times of peril and in times of peace.
The Mansfield Senior Center united the community Thursday for its Veterans Day Celebration held at the Mansfield Community Center.
The event kicked off with a social hour where veterans, their families and community members all mingled, followed by a ceremony honoring veterans and their service to the country.
Veterans who served in various wars, conflicts and branches of the military were all in attendance and recognized.
William Bokon, a Mansfield resident and Vietnam War veteran, was one of few Marines in attendance at the event.
â€śWe served with honor in the Vietnam War,â€ť Bokon said. â€śThe bravery was unquestionable and it didnâ€™t matter if you were in the Army or Navy, we were all a band of brothers out there.â€ť
For Bokon, this event provided recognition that was not given when soldiers returned home from the Vietnam War originally.
â€śThe reaction we got when we came home was a deep cut that takes a long time to heal,â€ť Bokon said.
Charles Lussier, Mansfield resident and Vietnam War veteran, also agreed the event gave Vietnam veterans the recognition they finally deserved.
Vietnam War veteran Philip Secker spoke at the event. â€śMy unit saved the U.S. embassy during Tet in 1968, which was the Chinese New Year,â€ť Secker said. â€śVeterans Day reminds us of how blessed we are to live here with people who risk their lives to protect us.â€ť
For Karen Taylor, a Mansfield resident and veteran who served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1981, the event was an important way to teach her daughter the importance of recognizing veterans.
â€śI brought my daughter, whoâ€™s a high school student, so she can recognize and learn that people volunteer our lives to protect freedom and the country,â€ť Taylor said.
Maj. Kevin Oâ€™Shea of the United States Marine Corps. was awarded â€śThe Flag of the United States of Americaâ€ť at the event for his service.
â€śIâ€™ve served for almost 32 and a half years,â€ť Oâ€™Shea said. â€śI served from 1967 to 1999.â€ť
Some of the areas that Oâ€™Shea served in were Vietnam, Lebanon, Operation Desert Storm and Iraq.
â€śThis event is important because we need to honor people who serve so that people that live here donâ€™t take freedom for granted,â€ť Oâ€™Shea said.
â€śFreedom is not free, thereâ€™s always a cost.â€ť