By William Tauro
About two weeks ago, a flotilla of private boats shoved off again to honor our heroes who sacrificed everything to defend this country to preserve our freedom at the annual Winter Hill Yacht Club Veterans Cruise!
On Sunday August 25th, the members of the Winter Hill Yacht Club with Chelsea Rotary Club, Somerville Veteran Services and the Chelsea Soldiers Home hosted it’s Annual Veterans Cruise on the Boston Harbor.
Over one hundred retired as well as disabled American Veterans from Somerville, Cambridge, NH, Chelsea Soldier’s Home as well as from all over the greater Boston area attended the annual event. Over 15-20 private yachts donated for the day by members of the WHYC to take the veterans out for an afternoon on the Boston Harbor participated in this annual historic and heart warming event.
Some veterans even showed up in full uniform or casual ceremonial hats and shirts that displayed either photos of their ship, branch of the armed services that they attended and even photos of their veterans photo silk screened to their shirts.
The war hero’s day of events began with a 10:00 am breakfast of egg sandwiches, coffee and donuts served to the veterans at the Winter Hill Yacht Club located at 98 Foley Street in Somerville.
A couple award presentations were also on the agenda. The first one presented by General Electric/ GE Veterans Network, who donated ceremonial keepsake coins that represented all five branches of the military on them to the veterans.
A second presentation was also presented to the Winter Hill Yacht Club by New Hampshire State Representative/ Ret US Marine Sergeant Al Baldasaro, a Cambridge Mass native, who presented a flag the was flown over the United States Nations Capitol for the WHYC via NH U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte who was unable to attend the event.
At 10:45am Boarding began for their 11:15am departure of all vessels from the WHYC docks under police escort courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police who’s boat was piloted under the careful watch of Massachusetts State Trooper Derek Baran and an Massachusetts Environmental Police boat piloted by Officer Jack Chapin and with the planning volunteer efforts by Environmental Police Officer Anthony Khabir who lead the flotilla of war heroes out to Castle Island to rendezvous and do a pass by of the Boston Fire Department, who provided the vets with a new fire boat that sprayed a wonderful spray event of water fountain like streams from it’s fire hoses to help honor the American Veterans that watched in amazement and gratitude and some even with a tearful eye or two from their seats aboard the donated vessels.
Shortly after that, all vessels proceeded to Charlestown to do a pass by at the USS Constitution (Old Iron Side) for a birds eye view of the famous naval warship.
Then is was back to WHYC in Somerville for a complementary mouth watering barbeque that was hosted by the yacht club members who served up an fashion home cooked old fashion meal for the crowd.
The members of the Winter Hill Yacht Club and it’s commodore Bill Rogers did a fantastic job in honoring our veterans on this annual event and are already busy planing for next’s years festivities!