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Gay, transgender veterans march for the first time in Boston Veterans Day parade

Gay, transgender veterans march for the first time in Boston Veterans Day parade
U.S. Army veteran Ian Ryan, left, of Dennis, Mass., and former U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. John Affuso, of Boston, right, carry an OutVets banner while marching with a group representing LGBT military veterans during a Veterans Day parade, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Boston. It was the first time a group representing LGBT military veterans marched in the parade. Steven Senne, AP

BOSTON — Massachusetts marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with commemorations around the state, including a parade in Boston in which gay and transgender veterans were allowed to march for the first time.

OutVets, a recently-formed group representing LGBT military veterans, had about 20 marchers in Tuesday afternoon’s parade through downtown Boston, and drew some cheers from people along the route. Civil War re-enactors and high school Junior ROTC members also marched.

Gov. Deval Patrick and other top officials gathered at the Statehouse to express “gratitude, pride and support” for past and present service members from the Bay State.

“Today we express our gratitude, pride and support for the Massachusetts military personnel who protect our interests around the world,” Patrick said. “This Veterans Day we acknowledge all veterans’ dedication and service, as we reinforce our commitment to making opportunities and resources available to the Massachusetts men and women who have served, and continue to serve us.”

The families of three service members from Massachusetts who died in Iraq or Afghanistan were given the state’s Medal of Liberty for their sacrifice.

Patrick also announced $2 million in funding to repair the historic War Memorial Tower that sits atop Mount Greylock State Reservation in the Berkshires, the state’s highest peak. The memorial, completed in 1932, has been ravaged by the elements over the years.

Patrick pointed out that Massachusetts leads in the nation in many of the services it provides to veterans, including an effort to end veterans’ homelessness.

The ceremony also included a special tribute to women veterans, POWs and Gold Star Families.

Cities and towns across the state held solemn ceremonies and parades to honor veterans.

Springfield honored veterans with a parade that also included high school Junior ROTC members and a memorial wreath laying in Court Square led by Mayor Domenic Sarno and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
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