Tag Archives: honor

Edith parked in YY … Old Soldiers

By Edith Morgan

They’re getting older and there are fewer of them; but every year at this time, they are at St. John’s Cemetery on Cambridge Street and other places to put American flags by the graves of those who died in battle. I am referring to our veterans, members of the American Legion, who have for many years put flags by 3,000 graves each year. This year they are getting help from the South High School and the Burncoat High School members of the ROTC.

I can remember many years ago, when there were parades down Worcester’s Main Street, featuring the marching bands of the various services, in full uniform. Many of us lined up along the street waving flags along the sidewalk. But year after year the crowds got smaller, the parades shorter, and the enthusiasm less. It is almost like “battle fatigue,” with so many wars, so much death, so many killed or maimed, year after year, war after war … .

As I look back, I think much of the disenchantment started with the disastrous Vietnam war. And has continued through the many wars we fought, wars whose burdens were not borne equally by all, under the draft, but were fought by a “volunteer army” representing a smaller segment of the American people, often for many years and in faraway places.

I have always strongly believed that, regardless of whether you are drafted, or whether you a a volunteer, we who send you out to fight our battles, to die or return damaged in body and/or soul, deserve quality support and care, for you and your families.

Even when I have opposed some of these wars, I have always believed that it is our duty to properly care for those who returned, as well as those who gave their lives.

So this special day, the last Monday in May, should be given over to remembering these dead, making sure that their loved ones are being looked after and perhaps giving thought to how to prevent the incessant slaughter that makes such a remembrance necessary.

But what I miss at this time is a day commemorating the civilian dead and injured, those in both sides of a war, who are just “in the way” – whose homes are bombed, whose air is poisoned, whose vital services are interrupted and who are not reimbursed for any losses – who are left to the tender mercies of charities, committees or government bureaucracies. They are generally women and children, left to fend for themselves, chased here and there, usually unarmed and uncounted.

I recall one Memorial Day parade in Worcester, when some of us who were members the WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) wanted to join the parade with a large poster enumerating the number of civilian victims of World War II – who outnumbered the military dead about 10 to one. We were told we could not join, and had to walk along the parade route on the sidewalk. If all these wars were fought to “protect” us, the people, then why are we not counted (our numbers are always given in figures – like “60 million died in World War I.” So on Memorial Day, I remember the innocent, the civilian dead, also – and hope we have learned something.

Tonight! Be there! Worcester City Council meeting! 7 p.m. City Hall … Speak out to restore the memorial honoring our WW II veterans of color!

From the Worcester NAACP branch:

Greetings,

The VFW Post 312 is calling out to Veterans and community members to support their efforts in seeking the assistance from the City to replace the Colored Citizens of Worcester Honor Roll monument. 

Mr. Bonds will be speaking on behalf on the VFW Post 312 tonight March 29 before the Worcester City Council at 7 p.m.  Bill Coleman has petitioned the City Council on this matter recently.  

Thank You,

Pat

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From James Bonds:

Friends:

On Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. I am appearing before the Worcester City Council  on behalf  of VFW Post 312 to gain the Council support on replacing the honor roll that was erected and dedicated in 1943 and placed on the ground at Belmont and Clayton streets.

The honor roll was moved in 1959 to make room for interstate highway 290. The names on that honor roll were World War II Soldiers (The greatest generation). 

I am asking for your support by coming to the Worcester City Council meeting [tonight]. Veterans please wear your cover. 

I thank you in advance for your support.

James Bonds

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From ICT contributing writer Ron O’Clair:

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Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade photo: Ron O’Clair

My thoughts on this subject

By Ron O’Clair

I understand that the powers that be back in 1959 had to move the Memorial to run I-290 through the area where it stood, even though Clayton Street is no longer there. But why did they not put it up somewhere else?

That is the question I have and will be voicing at Worcester City Hall tonight at the Worcester City Council meeting. I believe the inaction was/is a blatant sign of disrespect for our fallen heroes of color who deserved the honor they received by having the memorial built by a grateful City of Worcester in the first place.

Nothing irritates this former staff sergeant more than to have fellow soldiers, airmen or naval personnel shown such discourtesy whether by intention or by oversight.

This is an egregious violation that needs to be rectified immediately by special order of the present City Council seated now, of which its newest member Khrystian E. King happens to be a person of color. I was pleased to have had an opportunity this past November to ask my own 580 city council candidate supporters to vote for King in lieu of candidate Juan Gomez, as I feel that Khrystian E. King may be the new blood we need on the city council to move Worcester into the future.

I hope Worcester City Councilor King will be at the forefront of a drive to rectify this slap in the face to our deceased veterans of color. They have been ignored since 1959. I will be right there with him.

We should determine exactly what happened to the original monument and find if it is stored away somewhere in some area of the City of Worcester gathering dust. We should restore it to its original glory and find a spot to erect it with the proper ceremonial honors being paid to the event.

Failing locating the original structure, we should commission a new monument and perhaps use this as an opportunity to have our own Worcester artisans involved in its conception, design and construction.

This is something we all need to get behind. We need to work together to show that we have learned something through the summer’s Department of Justice talks on race relations, of which I was a participant.

Why no one brought this up long ago is also something I will be inquiring about at tonight’s Worcester City Council meeting.

I salute the memory of all the citizens whose names belong on the monument. I wish to see them properly remembered for their service and sacrifices to the cause of freedom and democracy during the second World War when America stood fast in the face of evil, united against the tyranny of oppression from the Axis powers of that era in history, only after having been surprise-attacked on 07 DEC 1941 on the day that lives on in infamy.