In America of course, we now call November 11 “Veterans Day”. That is highly fitting, in memory of all our military veterans. During World War I, American forces joined with European forces, clinching the Armistice on Monday morning, November 11, 1918, at 11 o’clock – exactly 100 years ago. President Eisenhower changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954. Were you aware that 103 military men from South Boston perished in WW I?
by Rick Winterson
This is the three-day Holiday weekend of Veterans Day. Veteran’s Day itself takes place this Sunday, November 11. This observance started 100 years ago in 1918, when the Armistice ending combat in Europe during World War I was put into effect on November 11 – after some 20 million (20,000,000) had died. The final World War I peace agreement (the Treaty of Versailles) was signed the next June.
Please take some time to combine remembrance of the Armistice with enjoyment during the coming weekend. The morning of Saturday, November 10, will see the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) 5K Road Race. Plan to watch it on Castle Island or to take part – register at DAV5K.org.
On Saturday afternoon, the 10th, Mary Ryan, Kevin Conroy, and their many volunteers will hold a Remembrance Ceremony in South Boston’s Excel High School auditorium. This ceremony starts promptly at 2 p.m., and will take no longer than an hour. The exact activities during this Hour of Remembrance are still being planned, but they will all be truly meaningful. The public is invited; this event is free to all. While you are in the High School, make it a point to view all 103 of the plaques dedicated to South Boston’s World War I casualties in the auditorium corridor, including perhaps our most well-known hero – Michael J. “Mickey” Perkins, a Medal of Honor recipient. The Mass. National Guard recently named its Armory in Natick for Perkins
Saturday evening, the AWVC (the Allied War Veterans Council) is holding its Second Annual Veterans Day Social at Sixth Gear – corner of L and Fourth. Please join us there. On Sunday morning, the Fitzgerald Post will form up at 10:00 at their VFW Post at 715 East Fourth, and then march to a 10:30 Mass at St. Brigid with brunch to follow. Monday is yours, but a trip with the family to the World War Annex in Mt. Hope Cemetery could make for a nice outing. Seriously.
And, South Boston Online has two future suggestions for you to consider:
First, attempt to delve into the background of your own family. Bob Shields, one of Online’s most loyal readers, did just that, and he sent us some photographs along with a handbook from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office entitled “Researching Your Family’s History”. Whether you are a newcomer or a born-and-brought-up South Boston resident, you have a family background. We would be especially interested in anything your ancestors did during World War I.
Second, how about helping to start a project to put a World War I Memorial in South Boston? We have memorials saluting Vietnam and Korean veterans, back to those in World War II, even including Admiral Farragut from the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War. We should memorialize World War I, too.