‘Brewster Loves Its Veterans:’ Residents, Officials Mark Day To Honor Those Who Served

November 15, 2023
Brewster officials and residents gathered at the concil on aging to celebrate Veterans’ Day Saturday.  SUZANNE BRYAN PHOTO Brewster officials and residents gathered at the concil on aging to celebrate Veterans’ Day Saturday. SUZANNE BRYAN PHOTO

BREWSTER – Veterans are more than just veterans, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paula Smith reminded those assembled on a crisp fall morning beneath the spreading Norway maple in front of the Victorian council on aging building. They serve after they’re done serving, she said.

Brewster celebrated Veterans Day one hour in advance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Town officials and residents used the occasion to remember those who had served in the armed forces.

“Many here are veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon,” the Rev. Wesley Williams, retired from the Orleans Methodist Church, noted in his invocation.

The honor guard was supplied by Brewster VFW Post 9917, Brewster Boy Scout Troop 77 and the fire department while Ron Fuller sang the National Anthem.

“I continue to thank the state of Massachusetts and Cape Cod and Brewster for their support for those like myself,” Smith said. “I am sure all the veterans and their families here share my gratitude. It’s easy to see Brewster loves its veterans.”

But she noted our veterans are more than just the sum of their service time.

“Do we really know who our veterans are?” she asked. “Do we only envision our veterans on how they perform in the service? Do we know how they continue to serve? They are some of the most highly talented and entrepreneurial individuals in the world.”

Smith pointed out that veterans are social workers, academics, a favorite coach, engineers or elected officials, such as a Brewster Select Board member.

“Veterans continue to serve their country,” Smith said.

Smith listed the traits veterans bring to their community. They are problem solvers, they are ready to take on a challenge without reservation, they are humble and integrity filled, they continue to seek opportunities and do the right thing and they take care of their team.

“Families serve with their veterans,” Smith observed. “They are part of something much larger than themselves. Family members are resilient. They pack and leave when a veteran gets new orders for a new assignment. Family members are a vibrant part of this Brewster community. Like veterans they identify with an entity much bigger than themselves. A veterans family stands behind a veteran.”

She went on to further define a veteran.

“A veteran is someone who at one time or another wrote a check up to and including their life,” she summarized. “A veteran may be young or old, a mother or a father, a sibling or a spouse or a child. They accomplished goals against incredible odds and gave their all to do it. And this person continues to serve right here in this town.”

Retired Navy Captain Stephanie Helm also spoke. Illustrating Smith’s point about continued service, she worked on cyber security for the state and prior to that was at the Naval War College.

“Massachusetts has 351 different communities and recognized we need to do something,” she explained. She met and toiled with fellow veterans to provide resources and information to local communities as part of the MassCyberCenter at the Mass Tech Collaborative and is now back at work as a war game specialist in Newport, R.I.

“It really makes a difference to have a veteran come home and to be able to call upon those folks,” she said. “Veterans in communities are what’s making communities better every day.”