Large Crowd Participates In Exercises Here
By WIN EVERETT
Under a leaden sky and in a damp breeze, which gave little promise as a symbol of peace for a bright tomorrow, the American Legion Post 70 of Norwood .and the Norwood Post No. 2452 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars held their annual Armistice Day memorial service yesterday morning at 10 o’clock at the captured German cannon in front of the Memorial Hall of the Municipal Building. The attendance was a large crowd which lined both sides of Washington street to see the parade and later to listen to the exercises.
The parade, which included rather limited group of veterans, was made colorful and cheerful by bright national banners and the two fife-and-drum corps of St. Catherine’s parish, the American Legion champion band, and the well-drilled Norwood High School band. It mustered in South Norwood and marched northward on Washington street.
How many of the veterans of two wars, the two faithful veteran war nurses who represented that great organization, and the many boys and girls in line realized how historic was the ground over ‘which they marched? Did they, as they went down Center street, remember that pitiful little remnant” of men who came home —7 as victors — from the siege of Louisburg under Governor William Shirley in 1745? Or the South Dedham veterans who covered the same road — as returning victors — from Lord Jeffrey Amherst’s armies in the French and Indian war. Most of them were wounded. Many died soon after their return. Or what was left of the South Dedham men in the Civil War who limped down old Washington street? They, too, were victors. Or the Spanish-American War returnees who also trod the same Victory Path- Or the Norwood boys who enlisted in World War I and at last trod Washington street as conquerors? Or at least those who were living or could walk did this. * The few GIs of World War II in the procession, sick and tired of endless marching, | completed the Victory Path roster to date. They, with their relatives and friends who lined the parade, thought keenly of that far-too-large group who went away from Norwood a few short years ago. never to return. Some thoughtful citizens stood silently before the Roll of Honor — checking up. Then they “left him alone with his glory.”
The brief riles at the memorial cannon were conducted by Commander A. H. Gleichauf of the Norwood American Legion post. They were opened with the following prayer by Chaplain Donald Hamlin of Post 70, A. L., representing, as a recent member of the U. S. Air Force in the European Theatre, the veterans of World War II:
“Almighty God. father of all mankind, and judge over nations.we pray Thee to guide our work in this meeting, and in all our days. Send Thy peace to our nation, and to all nations. Hasten the fulfillment of Thy promise of peace, that shall have no end. We pray for those who served the people, and guard the public welfare, that by Thy blessing, they may be enabled to discharge their duties, honestly and well. We pray for our comrades. that by Thy help, they may observe the strictist justice, keep alight the fires of freedom, strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy. and preserve untarnished our loyalty to our country and to Thee. Especially do we ask Thy blessing, and comfort, to those comrades on sick beds, in hospitals and elsewhere. who are suffering mental and physical disability. Cheer them and bring back to them, the blessing of health and happiness. Finally, O God of Mercy, we remember lovingly, before Thee, our departed comrades, who receive with Thee, the reward of life, everlasting. May their splendid example guide us. now, and evermore — Amen.”
Commander Gleichauf then made the following remarks:
“With all thankfulness. we look back to November 11, 1918, the Armistice Day which ended the World War. We remember how gladly men stood erect in the sun once more, and let their fires, shine out at night without concealment, how the load of anxiety fell in a moment from a world of women’s hearts, how a war-torn world turned back to peace with profound gratitude to the God who gave it and to the men who paid for it with their lives.
“And we who had offered our lives In service to our country turned back again to the tasks of peace. We will remember the slogans we had been taught- — that we are fighting the ‘war to end all wars;’ ‘to make the world safe for democracy; to protect the defenseless, and to overthrow the aggressor. ‘At last,’ -we said, ‘we have finished our task.’ How sadly we were mistaken is seen today as we come together in memory of that first Armistice Day.
“Again wc are victorious in war. Perhaps we should properly say that we have again taken up the war that only temporarily ended when Germany collapsed in T918. And, again, at the beginning of the past conflict, we found ourselves a nation unprepared to meet the emergency which war, thrust upon us. Let us see if we can discover today the lessons which we should • have learned in 1918; and which | are brought forcefully to this nation in the past conflict.*1 The Commander then introduced Commander John J. Feeney, representative o£ the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He spoke briefly but feelingly of the lessons of the last two wars and the urgent need of a just and continued peace. The sort of peace, he said, which would be so fervently advocated by all ¡ the Unknown Soldiers in their various tombs. He closed his remarks with the words: “If we have the love of God. we also have the love of country. If we hold fast!
I to the love of God and country, we cannot fail to attain an everlasting peace.”
j The next speaker was Adj. J – Addison MacLean of the Legion ¡ who spoke* as follows:
“The need of the spirit of self-sacrifice is also a lesson . of the hour. The greatest glory of war is the spirit of almost incredible devotion which it engenders. Men offer their lives and risk their lives and throw away their lives with magnificent abandon. Heroism becomes epidemic.
“But self-sacrifice must not be confined to those men who go to the field of battle. Those who stay home, and by whose efforts the front lines are supplied, must manifest that same spirit. Those who insist upon making great profits out of the materials of war must be shown that those profits are blood- money. Those who refuse the labor of their hands unless it is handsomely rewarded must be made to understand that such a refusal is mutiny. Those who do anything to slow up the production of vitally-needed materials must be shown how treasonable are their actions, how comforting to our enemies and how harmful to our armies. The same spirit of devoted self-forgetfulness. must be shown by the ‘mill owner and the mill employee, the miner and the operator, the office hands and j the managers, as is shown by their sons and brothers we go out into the raging conflict to suffer and to die.
“And we must pay public honor where honor is due. We must not uphold the mere manipulator of a market, or a mere scrambler after power or position or profit. But let us honor the heroes of public- service who seek not how much they can get out of their country, but how much they can give to it. Let us honor the men who carry into the ordinary affairs of “life a noble idealism and a sincere capacity for self-sacrifice. Let us will to live as well as die for our country.”
The Armistice Day memorial I closed with a spirited address by j Charles A. Heyden, principal of the Senior High School. He drew | a picture of that now far-off November 11, 1919 when the armistice suddenly silenced the European battlefields. Then the feeling was. lie said, an honest belief among the GIs that they had been fighting to make the world safe for democracy in a war to end war forever “Whoever or whatever has made this a lie, was not the fault of the men who fought that war. Now we stand in another post-war era.’ We are faced with the far greater problem of making peace which will endure, although such a peace is overshadowed with a terrible alternative, the atomic war which could destroy humanity.” Thus Mr. Heyden summed up the present. He saw the future problem is the deep and tremendous need of a re-dedication of every World War 1 and World War II man to work ceaselessly for genuine international peace and brotherhood. He closed with a recitation of “In Flanders Field.”
The playing of The National Anthem and the traditional sounding of Taps by Robert Fleck. William Culverhouse, and Edward Pothier ended the ceremony.
(Originally published in the Norwood Messenger, November 12, 1946)