BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Beacon Hill Monday morning, state officials gathered to honor those who served—and those still serving today—for the annual State House Veterans Day Ceremony.
Keynote speaker Gumersindo Gomez, President of the Vietnam Veterans of American Massachusetts State Council, joined the U.S. Army in 1966 and fought in the Vietnam War. He said serving is in his family's blood.
"We have five generations of veterans serving—my father, myself and my brother, my son, my grandson, and my wife," he said.
He reiterated the importance of serving in the military.
"There are many, way too many people in this country that call themselves patriots, yet they are not willing to defend the country by becoming part of the military," he said.
Gomez and his family are being featured in a documentary airing this week on the History Channel.
Gov. Charlie Baker spoke about his appreciation for what our servicemen and women do, and how that was amplified thanks to the help of a Hollywood director.
Not many expected to hear Peter Jackson's name mentioned during the ceremony, but his World War One documentary, "They Shall Not Grow Old," was the focal point of the governor's speech.
"He literally made it look like you were watching something that had been filmed yesterday," Baker said. "And this was military film, so it was right in the trenches. Some of the most horrific battles on the Western Front during that war."
Baker said the film gave him a different perspective.
"We don't get a chance to do this, we don't get a chance to be part of this great democracy of ours, without the moment to moment, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year commitment and sacrifice of our service men and women and their families," he said.
Outside the State House, there was a ceremony to honor the legacy of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
The regiment was raised during the Civil War and comprised of African-American soldiers.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports