It’s often been said that there is no other community in the country that holds its veterans, past and present, in higher esteem than South Boston. And so, it was, once again on this Veterans Day when all who served and currently serve were honored. But this year there was an added anniversary to highlight, and quite a big one as 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War l in the year 1918. It also paid tribute to South Boston’s home town hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Michael J. Perkins who fought so gallantly in the war, as well as all the other home town boys who marched off to battle in that war in defense of America’s freedom. WWI was called the ‘War to End All Wars’.
The public was invited to join in this beautiful and memorable ceremony that was held in the auditorium of South Boston High School, now also known as Excel High School. Dave Falvey was Master of Ceremonies for the program. The proceedings were opened with a prayer by Father Tom from St. Brigid Church. Congressman Stephen Lynch spoke eloquently about the sacrifices made by our veterans during time of war and beyond. Patrick Long read the citation for Michael J. Perkins, Rick Winterson from South Boston Online gave a beautiful and most impressive recital of the classic poem ‘In Flanders Field’ and local resident, the highly decorated Major Andrew Lee, United States Marine Corps. was moving as he so respectfully and solemnly read the names of those South Bostonians who served during that conflict. City Councilor Edward Flynn, himself a veteran, was there to pay tribute as was State Representative elect David Biele. The excellent and very talented Boston Fire Department Acapella Singers were on hand, as well.
Always present to add an official and very impressive touch to tributes to our veterans were Colonel Anthony Hinson and the members of the South Boston JROTC. At the end of the ceremony, which were closed by Father Tom, a beautiful wreath was laid at the site of the massive kiosk inside the school with the names and photos of the local service members who served in WW l. But prior to this year, at least one photo had been missing. The long-lost photo of Michael J. Perkins was finally located, secured in a safe in the Michael J. Perkins American Legion Post, so named for the Medal of Honor recipient himself. That photo has now been placed with his fellow heroes in the kiosk at the school.
Well Done to all those who took part in the excellent event that honored our local heroes from WWI and to all who attended and came out to show their support for this wonderful tribute. A very special thank you to the South Boston World War One Commemoration Committee for organizing this event within the South Boston community.