By: Carly Levy
The City of Tamarac along with their Veterans Affairs Committee held its annual Memorial Day Ceremony attended by many of those who served our country.
Keynote speaker was Randy Thomas Command Sergeant Major U.S. Army (Ret.) who began his military career in the United States Army in 1991, attending basic combat training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Thomas had served in a number of different leadership and staff positions including Team Leader, Squad Leader, Senior Instructor/Writer, the Town’s Operation Sergeant, Senior Intelligence Sergeant. He has had a number of assignments including serving in the second infantry division in the Republic of Korea, 525th military intelligence brigade airborne in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, fourth airborne ranger training battalion and first special warfare training group airborne in the United States Army John F. Kennedy.
In 2016, Thomas retired from active duty. He currently resides in Sunrise and is the Operations Director for the Objective Zero Foundation which provides suicide prevention resources through a mobile app.
“Please do whatever you can to dedicate some of your energy towards our veterans, indeed, they are worth it.” said Thomas.
Thomas spoke about how each gold star family member should remember his or her loved one who “took an oath, if necessary, to make the ultimate sacrifice.”
“Would they want to reminisce about the good times?” asked Thomas. “The way I see it, that is exactly how we should remember these brave men and women.”
He said he could assure those who served, that their loved ones would keep their memories alive while celebrating the cherished moments they had while serving together.
“Service to this country is not an obligation, but a patriotic duty for many,” he said.
He concluded by stating, “We are a nation unlike any other. Our freedom is not a guarantee and it must be safeguarded by brave citizens who are willing to stand and fight for our way of life.”
Once again, the award-winning J.P. Taravella High School Band led by Michael Friedman performed beginning with the “Armed Forces Salute” and ending with “Taps.” Singing the National Anthem was Chantel Deshaies. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dominic Gray, Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. The invocation was given by Howard Sternberg of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Presentation of Colors was performed by the Tamarac Fire and Rescue Honor Guard.
At closing, Bagpiper Paul Kinney played “Amazing Grace” and the benediction was given by Robert Horwith of the Veterans Affairs Committee. The winners for the “What Memorial Day Means to Me” essay contest were Lauren Gaggiano of Challenger Elementary, Tianna Salmon of Renaissance Charter School, and Nicole Vega of Tamarac Elementary School. The event concluded with the Laying of the Wreath by Tamarac Mayor Harry Dressler and Harry Cohen of the Veterans Affairs Committee.