Saturday in Lowell, the Veterans Assisting Veterans organization, held a motorcycle ride and concertat the Lowell Memorial Auditorium to benefit American War Widows, American Veterans with Brain Injuries and the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial. It was attended by some of the areas’ politicians and candidates but noticeably absent was Representative Niki Tsongas. “I am quite surprised that our Congresswoman was nowhere to be found “, stated Veteran Tom Weaver. “This event was advertised as a non-political event for the benefit of veterans who have given so much for this Nation.”
The event started off with a motorcycle ride from Hanscom Air Field. The motorcycles traveled back roads to Lowell where they ended their rain soaked ride at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, built in 1922 and dedicated to veterans. The concert, featuring James Montgomery and Friends, highlighted the 60’s and 70’s music, with some of the areas greatest musicians, Skunk Baxter of the Doobie Brothers, and three members of the former group BOSTON. Comedian Steve Sweeney provided the laughs between sets.
“It seems that it is ok with Rep. Tsongas to trumpet she supports veterans’ issues when she has federal money to throw around. But when it comes to a fundraising event in her hometown, organized by concerned veterans, she was a no-show, even though she received an invitation from the group months ago”, said Weaver. “Senator Brown had no problem clearing his schedule to attend and neither did some other local politicians, like Democratic Rep Dave Nagle and Democratic Rep Jim Arciero.”
Iraq war veteran Vincent Mannion-Brodeur of the 82 Airborne, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, inspired the crowd with his determination and courage . The father of Sgt. 1 st class Jared C. Monti, who was killed in action in Afghanistan, was also present honoring his sons’ memory. Jared was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Lauren Ayubi, widow of Sgt. Ayubi killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan on December 8th, 2010, rode in the pouring rain to honor her husband. She spoke about the support provided by the War Widows organization.
Weaver claimed, “I was hopeful people could put politics behind them in order to support the men and woman who keep us free . But I guess in this case that’s not true. That is sad, really”.