St. Sebastian's senior Michael McLoughlin gave a speech at the Needham Veterans Day Ceremony at Memorial Park on November 11. Michael's brothers, James '09 and Tucker '14, are currently serving in the military, one as an Army Ranger and the other in the 82nd Airborne Division, and his grandfather served in World War II.
Assistant Headmaster Michael Nerbonne, who selected McLoughlin to speak, said, "Michael did a spectacular job representing St. Sebastian's by honoring with his words the assembled veterans and their families. His speech was a most fitting conclusion to our Veterans Day commemoration which began on Friday with Colonel Christopher Conley's '94 address to the School. I am very proud of Michael for so eloquently standing and delivering on such an important topic." Along with Nerbonne, Michael's classmates, Ryan MacDermott '20, Timmy Williams '20, and Jared Arevian '20 were in attendance.
McLoughlin's speech can be read below:
My name is Michael McLoughlin and I am a senior at St. Sebastian’s. I am honored to be here today.
I have two brothers who are currently in the military. Both of my brothers attended St. Sebastian's also. My oldest brother James graduated in 2009 and attended West Point. During his sophomore year in college he attended airborne school, and shortly after he became certified. After graduating he was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. In Washington he was a civil engineer for an engineering unit. A year later he was attempting to become an army ranger. After almost 4 months of gruesome training and repeating a couple phases he was officially an Army Ranger. Upon his return to Fort Lewis, with his ranger tab pinned on his uniform, his commanding officer asked him where he bought the tab because it was so rare for a Civil Engineer to be a Ranger. After finishing up his time at Fort Lewis he went to Fort Lenord Wood and got his master's in civil engineering at Missouri Science and Technology and after a year he was stationed to South Korea.
My middle brother Tucker went a different route. After graduating from St. Sebastian’s in 2014 he attended Providence College on a ROTC scholarship, and then shortly after enlisted in the army. He was stationed at Fort Bragg and became Airborne certified and is now in the 82nd Airborne Division. He is now on his first deployment to Afghanistan and will not return home until May.
I am very proud of both of my brothers. They are amazing role models, but their inspiration came from my grandfather Don Lee. He is 92 years old and is a World War II veteran, and he worked for Raytheon designing the hydraulics of the Patriot missile. About six months ago he suffered a stroke, but luckily, he was at an appointment at the Veterans Hospital in Florida and they were able to respond quickly. I’m happy that the VA took great care of him and were able to keep him safe. Since that day my grandfather has been even more vibrant because he realizes how precious life is, and has become even more of a role model for me.
I hope to follow in my brother's footsteps and join ROTC in college and become an officer in the US Army as a Combat Engineer.
While it is important to serve, it would not be possible without those who have served before them. They have set up the path for those to follow in their footsteps. Beyond that, Veterans have stepped up to defend our country when it was needed most. Over the past fifty years, there hasn’t been a time in which our country has not been at war. The Vietnam war, the Korean War, the war in both Afghanistan and Iraq and the Gulf War, each war required men, few but proud willing to leave their everyday lives to defend the American people, and the American Dream.
To simply thank veterans is not enough, they have given up parts of their lives to war, and some have made the ultimate sacrifice dying for their fellow soldiers and fellow Americans. Not only did they give up parts of their life, but they did it with a smile on their face. They never let the American people down. They continued to be brave for the American people. Veterans are not only leaders of those soldiers that came after them, but they set the precedent of how to act after a war by continuing to be humble and brave and kind even though they have seen the worst of people in war.
Thank you to all of the Veterans with us here today and those supporting them.