Tag Archives: fallen heroes

(Tweaked! Again! Sorry!) … Just one question for Worcester’s city council and city manager …

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There’s plenty of room on our Common for Worcester’s planned memorial to our city’s fallen African American W W II soldiers. Right here, for instance – the Franklin Street side of City Hall.        pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

… Why is Worcester’s planned memorial to our fallen African American W W II soldiers being erected at the Worcester Police Station?

Why not put the statue honoring our Black soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice right where it belongs? On the Worcester Common, along with all the other statues honoring Worcester’s fallen heroes?

There’s a slew of them on our Common –  in the middle of our soon-to-be revitalized downtown! Around and behind Worcester City Hall … they adorn the grass and trees that surround them even as we try (at least on holidays) to adorn them – lay wreaths braided with flowers or pine at their feet. We walk or drive by the stone and iron soldiers if we work in or visit the heart of our city. They make you think … put aside your work, dining, shopping obsessions for a few fleeting seconds to see something greater – a person’s life story, a city’s story, world history. The stone and iron soldiers come alive!

You can even build the new memorial to our Black WW II soldiers next to our John Power WW II monument that stands right outside our City Hall. The monument to our Black WW II heroes –  it was called the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” –  was once located in our African American Laurel-Clayton neighborhood but disappeared, along with the neighborhood!, when the interstate highway was built.  John Power is STILL with us – standing guard by Worcester City Hall (see my photo, above). So, truth be told, we will be building a new monument because we lost, destroyed, the old one! How can you “lose” a monument? What does that “loss” say about our city a few decades ago? Back then, how sacred to our city fathers were the memories of these dead African American soldiers – Black men from Laurel-Clayton, from Worcester?

Not very sacred at all.

Hell! There’s room for a tank or a couple of Jeeps to the right of the John Power statue. There John stands as the hip students walk by to get to their recently built dorms on Franklin Street …

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Soldier Power doesnt look hip at all! He looks like your average WW II grunt – ditch digger, mucking around in stinking trenches with penecillin pills, canned spam in his knap sack  –  but a KILLER too. Make no mistake! See the rifle slung over Power’s right shoulder and the long dagger in his left hand? He’s clutching the dagger ready for the fight – hand to hand combat – to the death probably. How can any city deprive a Black soldier, who fought the same fight, the honor we’ve bestowed on John Power? Power’s helmet is on askew cuz he’s in battle. He looks Irish – and a little cockey. Why can’t we humanize our dead African American soldiers this lovingly?

Why can’t Worcester’s Black community have the same thing? A touching yet tough depiction of men in war in stone?

Why stick our Black soldiers at the bottom of Bell Hill, at the Worcester police station, in the middle of a 20-way intersection, surrounded by ugly concrete (we’re talking the police station, too!) – a place where few will visit, stop to honor these men, think about them? A place where drug dealers, robbers, rapists and killers are flung?

Yes, the police station is a stone’s throw from the old Laurel-Clayton neighborhood, razed and replaced by the Plumley Village low-income public housing complex, home to many people of color – Blacks, included. Why not – I’m certain residents would be honored -put the monument there? It would be back at its real home. Placed before the entrance way to the buildings and high rise, lots of folks would stop and pay their respects.

Or is that the point? The intention (maybe subconscious) of Worcester City Leaders? To keep the monument to our fallen Black WW II Soldiers out of the public eye –  especially out of reach of the African American community?

And something else…to stop it from being a focal point, a symbol, a place for Blacks to gather, to remember, to rally, to teach … to protest. So often people come to their city or town common to express views, speech-ify … Protest! It’s been happening as long as there have been places where people chose to live together. A kind of gathering at the communal fire place! In America we’ve been doing it ever since our forefathers and mothers sailed into Plymouth Rock!

It’s happening still. All over. Especially with Black Lives Matter and, before that, Occupy Wall Street. It’s happening in Worcester. Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has come down brutally hard on the BLM movement/rallies here, just as his predecessor City Manager I HATE ALL POOR RESIDENTS Mike O’Brien was hard with Occupy Wall Street protesters – refusing to meet with them, making sure they were off THEIR Worcester Common!

Would city leaders want a Black Lives Matter march to end at the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” on the Worcester Common? Would they want to see anyone give witness to pain, anger, racial discrimination in Worcester, “a city on the move”? Would they want a large crowd of folks agitating for change? In the middle of downtown?

Nope.

Is this what John Power died for?

*******

(P.S. Don’t let this happen, Bill Coleman and James Bonds!)

Worcester honors America’s fallen heroes …

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A Memorial Day Water Ceremony will be held at Elm Park at 2 p.m., Sunday

The 129th Memorial Day Observance Remembrance Ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Monday at Hope Cemetery, Webster Street. Meet at 8:45 a.m. inside the main gate for a short procession to the G.A.R. veterans’ section.

Wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Green Hill Park.

Korean War Veterans of Central Mass will hold a memorial service at 2 p.m. at the Korean War Memorial Monument – Foster Street.

June 14! Remember Worcester’s fallen heroes! Support NEADS service dogs and 2 other great, local charities! Enjoy free BBQ and Woo’s biggest block party … Run the 15th Annual Worcester Firefighters 6K Race!

15th Annual Worcester Firefighters 6K Road Race!!!

June 14

Institute Park (Salisbury Street)

6K will start at 11:30 a.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:  www.wfd6k.com

ON LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN ON REGISTRATION PAGE!

The WFD6K Road Race was started after the devastating loss of our six brothers in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire back on December 3, 1999.

The nonprofit proceeds from this event have changed since its conception: At first we donated the proceeds to help raise money for the permanent Memorial being built in the memory of our fallen brothers. After the first year (in which all the proceeds were donated to the Memorial) we decided to give back to our community – our way of saying thank you for all the support that was given to us during the tragedy.

From humble beginnings, this race quickly evolved into Worcester’s biggest community and family oriented charitable event.

For the past 15 years, the Worcester Firefighters 6K Road Race has touched more lives than we ever thought possible. To date, we have donated over $500,000 to local charities.

Our 3 primary, well deserving charities, that we feel best represent the goals of the WFD6K are:

NEADS, dogs for deaf and disabled Americans

Genesis Club [support, education, social activities for folks with disabilities]

Community Harvest Project [growing farm-fresh food for the hungry, children, needy in our community]

We have also donated to the Remembrance Wall and the Jon Davies Memorial both located in front of the Franklin Street Fire Station which has become our personal Memorial to our Fallen Brothers.

Each year our event is grounded in commemorating our fallen brothers, a fitting tribute to keep their memory alive.

Our committee is overwhelmed by the continuing support we receive from the WFD6K runners, volunteers and sponsors, all of whom have become part of our family.

The race is unlike any other race around, our race day focus is not simply on the race itself, nor is it the focus on the charitable donations.

It is more about the community and bringing the city and surrounding towns together as we celebrate the spirit of the day – block party style!

Everyone is invited to join us at the finish line for a free BBQ, live music, beverages, clowns, moonwalk, massages, a silent auction and a post race party at Tweed’s and so much more.

We have been told by many that our race kick off is a sight to behold, which includes a performance by the Worcester Firefighter Pipes and Drums. The race itself starts and ends at Institute Park running under two aerial ladder trucks draping the American Flag. The course is a figure 8 that runs by the Grove Street Fire Station and downtown Worcester. Our participants span from the area’s best athletes and most competitive runners to those who casually can enjoy walking and reflecting on the moment.

The memory of our fallen brothers (Paul, Jay, Jerry, Joe, Tom, Tim, and Jon) will never die as long as we keep this event going. With the help of our runners / walkers and sponsors it will continue to live on.

So please help the WFD6K continue to give back to the Worcester community and local nonprofit charities by joining us again this year.

As always thank you for your consideration and support.

For more information and details about this race and other ways you can help our efforts, please feel free to contact:

Lt. John Franco at 774-696-1826