As most know by now, it has been 100 years ago this month that the United States entered World War One. There are ceremonies ongoing nationwide marking the historical conflict that was at the time called the ‘War to end all wars’. And never to be out done by the rest of the country, South Boston will be right up front with its own tributes to its fallen sons, who sacrificed all in defense of America’s freedom. The big event will take place on Saturday, April 29th at the South Boston High School building on G Street and all are invited to attend.
First, a little background on what this day will focus on. There were 104 men with ties to South Boston, who either died in battles during that war or from injuries related to it. For generations, the photographs of more than a hundred of them have been on display; encased in glass inside a special wood carved kiosk in the corridor of the school for all to see. These proud men are pictured at their finest in their military uniforms with names prominently displayed under the photos. This magnificent display has thrilled historians for many years. The purpose of the event on the 29th will be to commemorate the fallen, as this neighborhood never forgets their veterans no matter what era they served in.
South Boston Today spoke with Southie native Mary Ryan, who, together with a dedicated committee, is organizing the proceedings and gave us updates on the progress being made so far leading up to the big day. Mary is excited to be part of this group, which is working hard to make sure all goes well.
The event will be in two parts. Beginning at 10:00am, there will be activities in the court yard/school yard, where the front door to the school is located. Plans are in the works and it is hoped that an actual WWI battle tank will be on display. There will also be WWI reenactors there wearing original uniforms of the era and mingling with the crowd. A ladder truck with a huge American flag will be flying in the breeze and other displays. At 11:00am, the activity moves inside and the hour-long program will begin.
Michael Donovan, Clerk of the Suffolk Superior Court will be the MC for the program. The South Boston Boys and Girls Club band will be performing Patriotic songs. There will be a small lineup of speakers briefly making presentations, which will highlight the contributions that the South Boston WWI veterans made to that effort. The names of each of the fallen will be read to honor their service to our country and many of their current family members will be present as well. At this writing, the lineup is still being worked on and we will be updating all in a story in next week’s South Boston Today.
The event itself is scheduled to conclude at noon time, but promises to be enjoyable and packed with the fascinating history of South Boston during the WWI years and of course to pay respect and tribute to the brave military personnel that served.
As stated above, this history laden event is for everyone. There is no charge for admission and the public is not only invited but urged to attend and be part of this unique and very special memorial to some true American heroes, who have not and will never be forgotten by an ever-grateful community and nation.
The committee has worked hard on this, and has done a lot of research to get everything right in this effort to bring us back, even for a moment, to the days of WWI to honor the those fallen veterans – Something this neighborhood has always prided itself in doing.