Norwood has a long history of proud military service, going back to the Colonial Wars, and the town and townspeople have done an excellent job of paying tribute to those veterans throughout the years.
Located in the center of town is the Norwood Municipal Memorial Building, also known as the Town Hall.
The first motion ever made by a woman in Norwood town meeting occurred one hundred and one years ago on this day in Norwood history in 1920, four months after the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. Mrs. Maude (Ray) Hartwell, president of the Norwood Woman’s Club, made the motion to construct a building that would serve as a suitable memorial for the soldiers and sailors of the Great War (World War I). The motion was seconded by Miss Susie D. Wheelock. This led to the construction of the Norwood Memorial Municipal Building in 1928, which stands as a permanent memorial to all Norwood veterans and service members.
Just outside Memorial Hall are plaques with the names of all those Norwood veterans who served from conflicts and wars up until World War I.
On Veteran’s Day 2002, the town dedicated four more wooden plaques inside Memorial Hall, commemorating the 101 Norwood veterans who died serving in WWI, WWII, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War.
Outside the Town Hall is a cannon captured from the German forces in World War I. It was presented to the town by American Legion Post No. 70 , ninety-three years ago today on November 11, 1928.
On May 12, 1943 the Town of Norwood placed the “Roll of Honor”, a list of men and women from Norwood serving in the armed forces during WWII, on the town common. The list was later moved to the walls of Memorial Hall in the Town Hall.
On the northwest corner of the Norwood Town Common is a beautiful 20-foot-high statue, “Protector’s of the American Way” which pays tribute to all of Norwood’s veterans. Created by Woburn artist Robert Shure, it was made possible by a donation from Norwood resident and veteran of two wars, Frank Simoni. The statue was dedicated in a grand ceremony on September 15, 1991, and depicts our military guarding an American family.
Here is the statue in 2018.
Across from Town Hall is the Combat Infantrymen monument.
“Dedicated To All Norwood Combat Infantrymen.
Freedom Has A Flavor The Protected Will Never Know.
Erected By The Combat Infantrymen Association New England Regiment
On the Washington Street side of the Town Common, approximately where the Roll of Honor once stood, is this monument which reads:
“Dedicated to the heroic valor and patriotic spirit of the men and women of the town of Norwood who served in the armed forces of the United States of America and all its wars.”
Heading East from the Town Common on Nahatan St, you will pass under the George T. Lee Memorial Bridge.
Col. Lee, a Norwood High graduate, was a fighter pilot in World War II who flew an impressive 258 combat missions in Europe and became the youngest Colonel in the air corps at that time. He died on active duty at the age of 35 in 1954. In 1988, the Bridge was named in his honor.
Aaron Guild Park
South on Washington street around a quarter of a mile away from the Town Common in Aaron Guild Park, there are several monuments to Norwood veterans.
This monument was dedicated by the Norfolk County Marine Corps League in 1957 to recognize and salute the service of United States Marines.
The inscription reads
In Memory of
All Marines of Norfolk County
Who Gave Their Lives
For Our Country
This beautiful bench was donated in 2007 by the Norwood high School Class of 1948.
Dedicated to Those
Men and Women who
Served in the Armed Forces
During the Korean Conflict
There’s also a stone marker commemorating the 5 Norwood men who fought in the Siege of Louisbourg in 1745.
Morrill Memorial Library
Not far from Aaron Guild Park, in front of the Morrill Memorial Library is a stone marker marking the spot where Aaron Guild dropped his plow when he received news of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Guild made it to Lexington in time to fire upon retreating British soldiers, or so the story goes.
Near This Spot Capt Aaron Guild On April 19, 1775 Left Plow In Furrow, Oxen Standing And Departing For Lexington, Arrived In Time To Fire Upon The Retreating British
The town seal bears an image of Guild and his oxen, and both Guild street and Guild park are named after him.
There are almost 5000 veterans buried at Highland Cemetery on Winter Street, mostly in private or family lots. In 1973, the Town of Norwood converted a plot of land in the center of the cemetery adjacent to the cemetery office into a Veteran’s section. Over 180 veterans are buried in this section today.
The annual Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day parades both end near this section of Highland Cemetery every year.
American Legion Post No. 70 dedicated this bronze memorial tablet to Norwood’s WWI soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in 1921. It sits just West of the Veteran’s section.
In Memory Of Their Comrades
Who In The World War on Land and Sea
Fought Valiantly, Suffered, Endured,
Gave All In Service And Gained
Through Death Immortal Life
In 1896, The House of Representatives authorized the Committee on Naval Affairs in Washington to donate a “condemned cannon and 4 pyramids of cannonballs” to George K. Bird Post, No. 169, Grand Army of The Republic to be placed in Highland Cemetery. The monument is dedicated to the South Dedham soldiers who died in the Civil War (1861-1865, a decade before South Dedham became Norwood).
In Memory of Our Comrades From So. Dedham, Now Norwood, Who Fell In Defense Of The Union In The War of The Rebellion 1861-65
Charles H Sulkoski co. I 35th Mass Inf
John G Bymond
Joseph P White
John H Birch
Julius Bochme co. B 26th Mass Inf
Albert C Bean
John E Richardson co. B 4th Mass Cav
Geo. W Lord Company E 11th U.S. Inf
Died Nov 25, 1889 Aged 61 Yrs
Wm R. Alden co. B 24th Mass Inf.
Died Oct 11, 1896 Aged 62 Yrs
Liet Dexter Mitchell co. C 8th Me. Inf
1861-65 Unmarked Grave In Florida
Directly in front of the cannon is a memorial to the unknown dead from that same conflict, donated by the Grand Army of the Republic’s Women’s Corps in 1905.
Near the rear of the cemetery, at the top of the hill, sits this beautiful tribute to Norwood’s 154 Lithuanian war veterans and the 7 who lost their lives. The monument stood outside St George’s church in South Norwood from 1949, until the church was closed in 2005 when it was moved to Highland Cemetery.
Old Parish Cemetery
Old Parish Cemetery was the original burial place for South Dedham and Norwood’s early history until Highland Cemetery was opened in 1890.
The land for old Parish was actually donated to South Dedham by veteran Capt. Ebeneezer Woodward in 1741 and many veterans are buried here, including Aaron Guild.
Norwood Memorial Airport
In 1946 the War Department in Washington gave the airport to the Town of Norwood. The facility was officially named the Norwood Memorial Airport, in memory of Norwood residents who lost their lives in World War II, but no formal dedication ceremony was performed until 2003, when Norwood’s Veteran’s Agent Ted Mulvehill rectified the oversight.
Disabled Veteran’s Memorial Park
This triangular park, bounded by Walpole St (Route 1A), Chapel Street and Berwick street, is a memorial for all Norwood’s disabled veterans.
For the past 20 years, plaques have been placed on corners near almost 60 fallen veteran’s homes, to recognize those Norwood residents who bravely gave their lives while serving their country.
Norwood holds parades annually on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Residents from Norwood and many surrounding towns fill the parade route to thank them for their service.
The citizens and the Town of Norwood are grateful for the service and sacrifice of our many brave veterans, and have worked hard to make sure they are never forgotten. Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve to preserve our freedom and democracy.