Reading Marks Veterans Day with Breakfast, Ceremony on Common
Veterans, youths talk about the meaning of Veterans' Day.
As the Old South Church bell chimed 11 o’clock yesterday morning, a crowd of about 150 people gathered on Reading Common.
The time is important. At 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month -- November, troops fighting 94 years ago in a war that was supposed to end all wars signed an armistice – a truce – to stop fighting.
That day, originally called Armistice Day, was renamed after World War II as Veterans Day.
On Nov. 11, 2012, preceded by a breakfast for veterans, the town’s first, Reading held what has become a tradition to honor all who have served.
Retired US Navy Rear Admiral Raymond Couture spoke briefly on the common. Veterans served their country “so we can live the way we are living,” the Reading resident and veteran of both World War II and the Korean conflict said. Some of them come home with injuries – both visible and invisible, he continued.
“We need to support them,” he said, even with a kind word.
Poems written by three Joshua Eaton students – Maura Drummey, Maya Shkolnik and Olivia Chamberlain -- were read. They were introduced by Eaton school specialist Jill Mayberry, an Air Force veteran. Boy Scouts in Pack 735 from St. Athanasius Church led the Pledge of Allegiance. Retired Naval Chaplain Fr. Stephen Rock offered a prayer. The RMHS Small Ensemble played.
What does being a veteran mean to one of the younger members of the audience on the common?
All the people, including medics, who fight in war, for their country, according to Finn Crowley, a member of Boy Scout Pack 735. Finn has studied the American Revolution in school, he told Patch, and seen “a little” about World War II. He learned yesterday that he has a veteran in his family: his grandfather’s mother was a medic during World War II.
Finn introduced himself to some of the veterans at the breakfast, according to his mother, Melissa, and thanked them.
Frank Driscoll, the town’s veterans’ service officer, estimated that 100 people attended the breakfast and 150 were at the ceremony on the common.
Veteran Roger D’Entremont was one of them on the common. His parents had three sons, he told Patch: “two Marines and me,” a member of the Air Force. When he was 12 or 13, he saw a movie about World War I pilots and wanted to become one.
“Ten years later,” he said, “I was one.”
D’Entremont joined the Air Force in June, 1950, right after he graduated from high school, when the Korean conflict flared. Many of his peers are veterans, he said. He knows many veterans. Many are alive; many have died. On Veterans’ Day (and Memorial Day) he remembers some of the situations they found themselves in.
As the ceremony proceeded on the common, cars drove by. A couple pushing a carriage walked by. That wouldn’t have happened years ago, D’Entremont’s wife, Noreen said. People would have slowed, stopped, attended the ceremony.
Even before Roger D’Entremont left the common, he had plans for Veterans Day afternoon: a trip with some of his grandchildren to Hanscom Air Force Base, to show them an F-86 jet - the kind of plane he once flew during the Cold War over Germany.