Numerous tributes and special events happening throughout the city on Veterans Day offered opportunities to remember and thank those who have served in the Armed Forces, both living and deceased.
One such event was the VFW North End Post 144 Veterans Ceremony at Old North’s Memorial Garden.
“As long as two comrades survive—so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead.” began the ceremony of Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 144. Standing on the Paul Revere Mall at the plaque dedicated to service members from the North End who perished from World War I up to Vietnam, the short service encapsulated the unity and solidarity of the fraternity.
This was repeated a short time afterward at the Old North Church’s Memorial Garden, where a Remembrance Day event took place on Sunday, November 10th. With others looking on, the ceremonial continued: “Our presence here is in solemn commemoration of all these men—an expression of our tribute to their devotion to duty, to their courage and patriotism”
Earlier that morning, Post members with their families and friends reunited at Caffe Paradiso. Many looked back on their years of service and membership, sharing the history behind Post 144 and its significance to the North End, including its contribution to various charities and community organizations.
The Post is in the midst of celebrating its 98th anniversary, originating in 1921 with a headquarters at 246 Hanover Street for several years.
“Members died, others moved away, but all had roots here. We may be more of a mobile post now, but it’s important to keep these traditions alive. We always will.” said Jim Coyle, Junior Vice Commander, who was joined by Paul Spera, Past National Commander currently serving as Post 144 Quartermaster, in looking forward to the 100th anniversary arriving in 2021.
Later that afternoon, the City of Boston, in partnership with Brighton Marine, hosted a Veterans Town Hall at the Ancient and Honorable Artillery in Faneuil Hall, where elected officials and other special guests were in attendance. The concept behind the Town Hall was meant to provide a forum for veterans to express themselves fully and without judgment, with non-veterans encouraged to actively listen and learn from what was shared.
Serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy during WW2, 95-year-old Richard Cook of the South End had some tales to tell of his time spent on the Pacific front during World War 2 where he saw action while on a Destroyer, remarking: “Let’s hope we never have another one.” While he misses his friends, Cook’s humor helped to lighten the mood when he mentioned a fondness for “java” and remarked on the improvements to the “chow.”
Kira Jacobs, the great-niece of the late Eva Wagner, expressed her gratitude, “for being able to be a part of this family.” Eva Wagner was 104 years old when she passed and charmed previous Town Halls with her remarkable life and character, sharing her experiences as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps. Once she returned from the European front, Wagner became Chief Nurse at Somerville Hospital.
“We don’t live a life of perfection, and sometimes things just aren’t easy.” Dan Magoon, Executive Director of Mass Fallen Heroes and a combat veteran from the United States Army said. “We have to think in terms of post-traumatic growth as well,” Magoon went on to say, emphasizing the importance of seeking help if needed.
The event concluded with Bob Notch, Brighton Marine’s Program Development Officer, asking those in attendance to take away from the Town Hall the opportunity to connect with and support the Veterans’ community.