Dedication of

GOLD STAR MOTHERS MEMORIAL

Woodside Cemetery Cohasset, Massachusetts

November 11, 2001 1:00 PM


Master of Ceremonies: Glenn Pratt

Benediction delivered by: Reverend Gary Ritts, Second Congregational Church

Let us pray. Oh God, loving created, we thank you for this beautiful, beautiful day. And on this Veteran, Armistice Day, fill us once again with what they truly stand for – the end of war, for hope, that peace can come. May we know today your presence in this hour as we bless and dedicate this beautiful memorial. To mothers who have taught that the value of the sacrifice of love. For Gold Star Mothers everywhere we are thankful, we ask your blessings upon the leaders of this world, may we continue to strive for a final Armistice Day. Be with us, guide us, and bless us, in the name of love. Amen

Dedication Speech delivered by: Merle Brown Cohasset Board of Selectmen

Good Afternoon Ladies, Gentlemen, Gold Star Mothers, and fellow veterans.

On behalf of the Board of Selectmen I would like to welcome you to the dedication of the Woodside Cemetery Expansion and Gold Star Mother’s Memorial.

The original section of Woodside Cemetery was built in 1906. The layout for the cemetery had about 2400 graves on the plan. By the late 1980’s the Town began running out of burial plots and was unable to sell graves on a pre-need basis. Some families were placed in the unfortunate situation of interning their loved ones out of town.

A Cemetery Study Committee was formed in 1986 to develop strategy to provide for long-term relief. Over the next sixteen years several options for a new site were proposed before an expansion of Woodside was finally voted on in the spring of 2001. The new section we are dedicating today will provide 1,800 burial locations and for the first time, town cemeteries will offer crypts for inurnment of cremated remains. The sale of lots over the next ten years should ensure that no tax dollars would be used for this expansion.

I would like to take the time to thank all the citizens who served on the Cemetery Study Committee. I would especially like to thank Glenn Pratt for his perseverance. Without his untiring efforts this project would not have been completed. Glenn, thank you for a job well done.

Dedication Speech delivered by: Captain McCarthy-White

Fellow Veterans and friends, Cohasset Gold Star Mothers, boys and girls of Cohasset- First, I want to thank you for having me back to speak as a Vietnam veteran from Cohasset. What an honor it is for me to be here for this Dedication of the Cohasset Gold Star Mothers Memorial. This Gold Star tradition has been in our country for almost a century now as a way to remember our men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country. The gold star tradition began in WWI when flags were displayed from homes, businesses, schools and churches to indicate by a blue star each active duty service person. A gold star was stitched over the blue star when one of the soldiers had given their lives for their country. In 1928 a group of 25 “Gold Star Mothers” in Washington DC began the national organization of American Gold Star Mothers. In its original charter it listed many purposes including The general promotion of peace and good will, and The perpetuation of the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed.

The Gold Star Mothers organization is composed of American Mothers who have lost a son or daughter during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia and I suppose our most recent place of conflict – Afghanistan.

It is so special to be here today to both honor this organization in the accomplishment of its goals, and to honor the Gold Star Mothers of Cohasset themselves – Mrs. Simeone and Mrs. Maree who are with us today and those others that we remember so well.

Who would of thought last August when Glenn Pratt asked me to speak that the world would of changed so much on September 11th? – I work for the FDA just outside of DC. On the morning of September 11th someone in my office showed me on their computer on the internet the World Trade Center being hit – then hit again – and the Pentagon strike – so close to us – a building that most of us thought could not be touched. We were immediately evacuated. We live close to three major airports – Baltimore Washington International, Reagan Nation and Dulles – and we are in the flight path for Camp David, Andrew’s Air Force Base and the White House. By noon the skies were empty except for military strike planes – Huey gun jets and F16’s – And the skies remained that way for several days. It was a dreadful time – friends and family calling, wondering what was the meaning of all this – the loss of so many lives? Is it over? Will it continue? Are we safe?

These recent events somehow give even more weight and import to what we are here to do today – to remember our wars – not always for the victories or for the heroes who come home again – but also for the many sacrifices – our mothers’ sons – which must be made for any war.

I remember in 1969 coming home from Mass General Hospital Nursing School every few months for another funeral – I remember standing on the hill at central Cemetery in Cohasset – at Allen Keating’s funeral – saying to my friend and classmate Craig Muir – I have to do something. I signed up for the Army Nurse Corps and within a year I was in Vietnam – I was 20 years old – I thought that was the least I could do – to care for these friends of mine – these soldiers – who were going off and giving their lives for our country.

This strong feeling of patriotism that we feel today were not always present in our country or in our town of Cohasset. I remember in 1972 after I returned from Vietnam when I was home from the Army my mother asked me to march in the Memorial Day parade – she said it would mean so much to my father. I had marched in Memorial Day parades every year as a young girl – a flower girl, a Brownie, a Girl Scout, in the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. To march in an Army uniform in 1972 – at 20 something – was not a popular thing to do. But I felt it was the right thing to do – to remember our wars and the sacrifices that had been made and were being made – the loss of our sons – our brothers, our friends – So I marched – with Jet Jackson, John Morgan – in uniform. There were so few of is Vietnam era veterans. We walked down Main Street Cohasset feeling perhaps unpopular but knowing inside ourselves it was the right thing to do – In years following others joined us – Wayne Harrington, Donnie and Duncan McCormack, until in 1990 we had over 100 veterans marching and this resurgence of interest – Veterans remembering their fellow veterans continues today – especially with this memorial.

Today – 30 years later – I am still a Vietnam Veteran and also a mother - the mother of our 13 year old son Maury – who is here with my husband Rodney today. As a mother and with the events of September 11th I feel the dichotomy of war stronger than ever – the patriotism and love of our country – and the dread of sending our sons and daughters into harms way. This Memorial is such a magnificent way to honor these Gold Star Cohasset mothers who lost their sons – for they know best the high price of freedom in this country – they have experienced the ultimate price of freedom.

We are here today to dedicate this Gold Star Mothers Memorial that was built by the families and friends of these Gold Star Mothers and their sons. This is a memorial for veterans of all wars of the 20th century. And as part of our dedication here today we are going to hear about each of these wars and their impact on Cohasset – and the people of Cohasset – This dedication today is a symbol of the collective loss of the town of Cohasset – from George Mealy in World War I to Peter Albiani in Vietnam.

As Ed Allen, a Vietnam Veteran, expressed it so aptly in 1970 in his poem:

“Ladies of Gold”


I, for one, stand ready to do my part
And take each mother into my heart
And let her know, that it is a lie
For not in vain, did her son die
And these ladies
Be they young or old
Are truly worth
Their weight in gold
I’ll take them in my arms, their tears on my chest
I’ll take them, he was America’s best
My hope, if I may be so bold
Is for light from their eyes to shine like gold
A Gold Star Mother
They’ll always be
We owe them plenty
Everyone…you, you and me.

Remarks by: Garret Bradley, State Representative

Good afternoon, I’m Garret Bradley; I’m your state representative. Who before I begin, I’d like to apologize if I have to leave early, as there are services in Hingham as well, in a little while. As I was sitting here two Gold Star Mothers came to mind. One being my wife’s great great-grandmother who lost her son Carl Lindberg in World War I as he was killed at the young age of 20 by German forces. Then my own great grandmother whose son Edwin Kelley was killed in World War II at the battle of Iwo Jima. We must never forget the sacrifice those Gold Star Mothers and the Gold Star Mothers being recognized here today have laid upon the alter of freedom. I have a citation here today from The House of Representatives and one from Senator Hedlund who could not be with us, commemorating this memorial today and the one from House reads...

God bless those here today, God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Remarks by: Brenda Innis, President of American Legion Auxiliary in Cohasset

Good afternoon everyone my name is Brenda Innis, I’m the President of the American Legion Auxiliary here in Cohasset. I’d like to tell you that I am very honored to be a part of the service here today. We are gathered here today for a grateful and patriotic duty. To dedicate this memorial to those women whose lives have been saddened by the ultimate sacrifice of war. The loyalty and devotion that they have shown, in order that they be of service to others, has ever been an inspiration and the guiding light to all, we pay homage to them. May we again dedicate our organization and ourselves to the sacred ideals, which are here represented, ever remembering that the American Legion Auxiliary’s principal service is for God and country. At this time I would like to ask my acting unit Chaplin, Jane Hamilton to now offer a prayer.

Let us Pray. Almighty God, We stand before you today as loyal citizens of our country grateful for its splendid heritage. We ask your blessing upon our great republic may America remain forever free. We pray for your blessing as we remember with love our departed heroes and those they left behind. A war demands the life’s blood of its fighters and therefore takes the hearts blood of their mothers and fathers. We ask your blessing upon this memorial, let it stand in perpetuity, may it bring comfort to the bereaving families and serve as an inspiration to all who come after them to honor and cherish, the ideals of those heroes and other parents both here on earth and those who rest in your loving embrace. Amen.

... Moment of Silence ...

In closing I’d like to say that with the dedication of this memorial I dedicate our unit Cohasset 118 to the faithful service of our country and to the preservation of the memory of those that died that liberty might live

Dedication Speech delivered by: Eleanor Bleakie

WORLD WAR I

The guns of August sounded in Europe in 1914 after an assassin’s bullet struck down Arch Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. For almost three years America remained neutral from the increasing bloody struggle that engulfed Europe. However, the beginning of unrestricted warfare finally drew America into the struggle on April 6, 1917. Over 2 million American fighting men deployed to France to make the world safe for Democracy. Among those who went was my Uncle, Howard Rogers Clapp, who was lost in the war he was a flyer. Finally, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the guns fell silent. By the time the guns had fallen silent 250 Cohasset men and women had served. Sadly, 5 men made the ultimate sacrifice. Today, we honor the Gold Star mothers of these brave men.

Charlotte, mother of Sergeant George H. Mealy ~ US Army

Edith, mother of Corporal Lawrence B. Williams ~ US Army

Josephine, mother of Private John W. Sidney ~ US Army

Clara, mother of Private Joseph A. Gonsalves ~ US Marine Corps

Ellen, mother of Private Herman E. Daley ~ US Army

Dedication Speech delivered by: Ralph Perroncello

WORLD WAR II

Less than a generation after the end of World War I the war clouds were again forming over Europe and Asia. America struggled once again to remain neutral but on a peaceful Sunday in December 1941 the country found itself thrust into a new struggle. Isolationism vanished over night and the citizens of the country joined together in a common cause. A full mobilization of the nations resources was required to meet the two front threats to American freedom. Over 14 million men and women donned their nations uniform and over the next four years sacrificed much to overcome the evils of fascism and totalitarianism. Over 350 Cohasset men and women again answered the call. Once again the price of freedom was a high one for Cohasset as 8 young men failed to return to their families. Today we honor the Gold Star mothers of these brave men.

Annie, mother of Allen A. Buffum ~ Merchant Marine

Katharine, mother of Lieutenant Perry H. Johnson ~ US Navy

Helen, mother of Machinist Mate First Class Robert E. Jason ~ US Navy

Harriet, mother of First Lieutenant William B. Long, Jr. ~ US Army

Lydia, mother of Sergeant Everett F. Studley ~ US Army

Rosalia, mother of Private First Class David H. Parker ~ US Army

Emily, mother of Lieutenant Junior Grade Howard E. Gleason ~ US Naval Reserve

Gertrude, mother of First Lieutenant Norman M. Todd ~ US Marine Corps

Dedication Speech delivered by: Clifford Jones

KOREAN WAR

On June 25, 1950 North Korean Forces crossed over the 38th parallel in a lightning thrust into South Korea. The United States joined with our United Nation allies to stop this naked aggression and once again America’s finest were asked to deploy overseas to protect America’s interests. Over the next three years bloody battles were fought up and down the Korean peninsula. Ultimately a ceasefire was signed and a semblance of peace was restored to Korea. Once again Cohasset’s men and women answered the call and over 150 served during the war that has become known as America’s Forgotten War. Sadly one Cohasset young man gave his life. Today we honor the Gold Star mother of this brave young man.

Maude, mother of Corporal C. David Strout, Jr. ~ US Army

Dedication Speech delivered by: Wayne Harrington

VIETNAM WAR

In early 1961 American young men and women were thrust into another conflict far from home. For the next 14 years they struggled to fight communism far from our shores in South East Asia. The price was steep and the cause was not particularly popular. Still over 300 Cohasset men and women answered their country’s call. By the time the last helicopter had flown out of Saigon in May of 1975 eight Cohasset young men had made the ultimate sacrifice. Today we honor the Gold Star mothers of these brave men.

Shirley, mother of Lance Corporal William C. Laidlaw ~ US Marine Corps

Flossie, mother of Private First Class Peter Cogill ~ US Army

Laurentine, mother of Captain John P. Lyon ~ US Army

June, mother of Private First Class Craig M. Simeone ~ US Army

Elizabeth, mother of Boiler Technician Third Class Edward R. Maree ~ US Navy

Margaret, mother of Specialist Fourth Class Allen F. Keating ~ US Army

Mary, mother of First Lieutenant Dennis J. Reardon ~ US Marine Corps

Maxine, mother of Technical Sergeant Peter J. Albiani, Jr. ~ US Air Force


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