Elected officials, military leaders, and dozens of well-wishers gathered in South Weymouth today to dedicate memorials to three servicemen from the South Shore who were killed in Iraq.
On the site of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, now a burgeoning 1,400-acre residential development called SouthField, officials unveiled three engraved monuments that honor Marine Sergeant Andrew K. Farrar Jr. of Weymouth, Marine Lance Corporal Walter K. O’Haire of Rockland, and Army Specialist Matthew M. Pollini, also of Rockland.
All three were killed in action between 2005 and 2009.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray was a speaker at the event, which featured a flyover by two Marine CH-53 helicopters.
“We’ve lost some of the best and brightest in our state,” Murray said in an interview before his remarks. “It’s important that we thank these families and let people know, today and every day, that we continue to remember.”
Other speakers included Auxiliary Bishop John A. Dooher of the Boston Archdiocese, who had baptized two of the servicemen, U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch, U.S. Representative William Keating, and Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services Coleman Nee.
Military leaders also spoke at the event: Major General L. Scott Rice, who oversees the Massachusetts National Guard, gave remarks, as did General William F. Mullen III, who served 19 months in Iraq and drew a standing ovation for an emotional speech that defended U.S. military involvement there.
“I know the pain is still there,” Mullen told the men’s families. “Time is a great healer, but it does not heal what happened. “The men we honor today knew the risks, and I doubt any of them would back out if they knew what would happen.... They are the best of us, and they will remain so.”
The ceremony, timed to coincide with Veterans Day weekend, also marked the 237th anniversary of the Marine Corps’s founding.