It is now known by many names — Veterans Day in the United States, Armistice Day in France and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Nations — but no matter what they call, it nations around the world paid tribute to their fallen on the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I at 11 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 11.
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the armistice went into effect to stop four years of unfathomable bloodshed in Europe and in the Atlantic. Although the armistice ended the fighting, it was prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on June 28, 1919, took effect on Jan. 10, 1920.
Locally, Hanson planned to join in the Bells of Peace remembrance to mark the centennial. The bells at St. Joseph the Worker Church was among churches around the nation tolling its bells 21 times at 11 a.m., local time. Town Halls, schools, clock towers, fire engines, and fire with a bell were also encouraged by the Mass. Department of Veterans Services to participate in this program.
The Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade, in Abington this year, gathered bands, officials, floats, color guards and — most importantly veterans’ groups — from Abington, Rockland and Whitman to thank veterans and commemorate the centennial.
Hanson also took a moment on Thursday, Nov. 8 to treat its senior veterans to breakfast and present them with certificates honoring their service. The event, catered by the Olde Hitching Post and sponsored by the Friends of the Senior Center, also features musical tributes by the center’s chorus the Swingin’ Singers.
State Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury, pitched in to dish out the French toast before he read the Veterans Day proclamation from Gov. Charlie Baker during the ceremony hosted by Hanson Veterans Services Director Timothy White.
“Our office is here to help as well,” Cutler said after White had outlined his office hours. “We hope you’ll consider us a resource if you need any assistance in any way, but certainly with veterans’ benefits.”
American Legion Chaplain Ernest Jutras offered an opening prayer for the program and Town Administrator Michael McCue offered a short speech.
“We beseech you to usher into our world of confusion and doubt, peace and tranquility, which alone can come from [God],” Jutras prayed.
McCue quoted Athenian Gen. Thucydides who lived from 460 to 400 BC: “The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.”
“The courage described in that quote is and was the courage shown by every man and woman to don the uniform of the United States military,” McCue said. “That courage is honored today and over this weekend, not by the Veterans’ Day auto sales and department store discounts, but by gatherings such as these across the nation. It is actually that courage that allows us in a free America to indulge in, what I feel, are the trivialities of this weekend.
“Today, here, is what counts on Veterans Day,” McCue continued. “I am proud to have been invited to participate in this and past events in Hanson, especially since I am only a beneficiary of this courage and not one that displayed it. Thank you all for your service.”
McCue extended apologies from Selectmen who were either traveling or working and unable to attend.
White also attended a breakfast for veterans and their families on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Hanson American Legion. Prior to that he worked at Fern Hill Cemetery to change out veteran’s grave flags for the flags that are in poor shape.
August Silva, assisted White and Cutler in presenting certificates to his fellow veterans.
Veterans and surviving family members receiving certificates of service were: Harold Davis, William Walsh, the widow of Dominic Paradiso Sr., Ed Gronlund, Carol Tavares in memory of her brother Belmiro Tavares Jr. [killed in action, Vietnam], Lisa Wirth in memory of her brother Joseph W. Wirth [killed in action, Vietnam], Ernest Jutras, Thomas Butler, George Copeland, John Banusiewicz, Ted Coakley, Ed Weldon, Wayne Seer, James Richards, Robert White, Al Supple, James Stewart, Emery Maddocks, Dave King, Bob Kendrigan, Thomas Anderson, Larry Mills, John Barboza, Clarence Walker, Mark Morrocco, Angelo D’Agostino, Frank Mazzelli, Sam Hammond, Donald Howard, Joseph Marsden, Paul Finch, Bill O’Brien, Peter Travaline, Doug Squires, Allen Comeau, Blakie Bean and Robert Buckley.