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On Nov. 12, BWHers gathered in the Peter Bent Brigham Building lobby to honor servicemen and women across the hospital and the world, including special guest Joseph Murray, MD, a retired BWH surgeon and World War II veteran.
“On behalf of the Brigham family, please accept our sincerest gratitude for your patriotism, courage, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, told veterans. “Today we celebrate you.”
Organized by Operations Manager for Security and Parking Bob Donaghue and a group of dedicated BWH veterans, the ceremony began with the marching of the Color Guard and the unfurling of the BWH flag for the first time in history. Among those recognized were Brigadier General Marie Field, MS, RN, a nurse educator in the NICU, former deputy chief nurse for the Air Force and BWH’s highest-ranking member of the military; Donaghue, a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps; and Senior Airman Tom Lennon, simulation specialist in the STRATUS center and emergency services aide in the ED. Lennon was recently recognized by the U.S. Air Force Reserve as Outstanding Airman of the Year.
Standing in front of the American flag, dressed in uniform, Murray expressed his gratitude for being part of the day’s event.
“It is an honor and privilege being with you to celebrate Veterans Day,” said Murray, who performed the world’s first successful organ transplant in 1954. “I am pleased to see so many of you in uniform, and I am grateful that I can still fit into mine.”
During the Veterans Day ceremony, the first-everBWH flag was unfurled. From left, front row: Betsy Nabel, MD, and Joseph Murray, MD. Back row: Bob Donaghue and Coast Guard Reservist Michael Welch.
Murray, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990 for his achievements in organ and cell transplantation, spoke about the tradition of service that extends across BWH, naming some of those who served before him in World War I and II.
“We are fortunate to serve mankind as well as our great country,” he said, before thanking his wife for her support and being presented with an American flag.
Added Nabel: “Thank you Dr. Murray, for honoring us today with your presence, and for doing everything possible for our patients, their families and the many physicians-in-training who have had the privilege to learn from you. The quote on the wall over your Nobel Prize exhibit quotes you has having said, ‘Service to society is the rent we pay for living on this planet.’ I think we can all agree your rent has been paid in full.”
Concluding the celebration, Vivian Cooley-Collier, of the Office of Women’s Careers, sang a moving rendition of “America the Beautiful,” and Donaghue presented Nabel with a sword for the cutting of the cake. Murray enthusiastically performed the second slice.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Bob Donaghue was among the military
veterans who visited the White House recently to attend Veterans Day
services at Arlington National Cemetery, where President Barack Obama
honored them and their families.
“It was a great privilege to be among the many veterans who have served
this country,” said Donaghue, operations manager of Security, who served
in the U.S. Marine Corps for 32 years.
Since leaving the Marines, Donaghue has been an advocate for veteran
services and currently leads the Marine Corps Reserve Association, where
he is the president and chairman of the board.
That commitment and advocacy draws a yearly invite to the ceremony and
White House, but it wasn’t until this year that his schedule allowed him
to make a one-day trip to attend the ceremonies and be back in time to
host the annual Veterans Day ceremony at BWH.
The White House ceremony included a breakfast, during which 200 members
of veteran service organizations’ leaders met the president. From there,
Donaghue joined thousands of veterans as Obama placed a wreath at the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
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Larry Nialetz, operations supervisor for Security,
takes part in this year’s Veterans Day ceremony.