Gold Star Families honored at State House ceremony

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Chris Gavriel could barely finish talking about his son before his voice began to shake with emotion Tuesday afternoon at a State House event honoring Gold Star Families.

Standing at a podium in Memorial Hall, Gavriel was one of many family members of fallen service members who came to share their loved one’s story and express gratitude for their sacrifice.

“You know they didn’t die for nothing. When you have everything and you give it up and you go in and put country ahead of yourself and put something higher -above your life – this is the least we can do, to honor people like that,” Gavriel told the News Service after leaving the podium where he thanked his son, Lance Corporal Dimitrios Gavriel, for his service in Iraq.

Gavriel said his son wanted to join the Marines after he lost friends in the World Trade Center attacks in New York. He said his son was fighting in Fallujah when he was killed by two grenades and now has a daughter in the service.

Gov. Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker and Veterans Affairs Sec. Francisco Urena were among several state officials who attended the event, which is held every year to dedicate a tree to honor Gold Star Families of Massachusetts. The tree, which has been donned with ornaments featuring the pictures of service members, will stand in Memorial Hall through the holidays.

Reflecting on the experience after it concluded, Baker said it was an emotional reminder of the sacrifices made by Gold Star Families and their loved ones.

“If you were down there and you watched those moms and dads and sons and daughters and wives and husbands walk up to the microphone and basically call the roll, I thought it was incredibly painful to tell you the truth and, boy, when my kids come home I’m just going to hug them. Hard. Everyone of them.”

— Written by Antonio Caban

Copyright State House News Service