Veterans Units Honor War Dead in Hall of Flags

by Laurel | November 11th, 2011

11 November 1961

Past Commander of Legion Says Communism is Threat to World

Mackenzie Field, circa 1940

Mackenzie Field, circa 1940

Representatives of the various veterans organizations, the auxiliaries and groups from the several patriotic societies gathered at the Hall of Flags in the War Memorial Building Saturday to observe the seventh annual Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day.

Veterans Place Wreaths

Later in the program the veterans placed a wreath at the grave of a heroic Army chaplain and also put wreaths at three places named in memory of three Holyoke Service men who received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Speaking at the Hall of Flags exercises, Louis Windholz of Springfield, a past commander of the Hampden County American Legion told the gathering that Armistice Day was originally an occasion for celebration but today with world conditions as they are, it is more a day of dedication to the cause for which the heroic dead of all wars gave their lives, namely for the preservation of our form of government.

The speaker reviewed the celebration of the first Armistice Day 43 years ago and gave a brief account of the celebrations which followed the defeat of the Hitler forces and the Japanese in World War II, He said that notwithstanding those victories, the world is threatened bow by communism and it is against this insidious army that the battle for democracy must be waged.

Giles M. Haggerty presided at the exercise. Speaking for the three faiths were Rev. Francis X. Sullivan, assistant pastor of the Holy Cross Church, Major Auchmoody of the Salvation Army and Meyer Feldman, representing the Jewish War Veterans Post of Springfield.

Mayor Speaks

Mayor Samuel Resnic, a Legionnaire, spoke briefly expressing his appreciation to the committee for its excellent work in creating a citywide interest in the observance of Veterans Day. Taps was sounded by Ernest Beaudreau.

At the grave of Rev. William F. Davitt, native of Holyoke, in Calvary Cemetery, a wreath was placed by James P. Kelly, commander of Holyoke Barracks, 366, VFW. Fr. Davitt, chaplain of the 125th Inf., 32 Div., was the last officer killed a short time before the Armistice was signed on Nov 11, 1918. He died in the Argonne Forest.

Rev. William F. Davitt

Rev. William F. Davitt

Rt. Rev. James J. Fitzgibbon, pastor of the Sacred Heart Church and Chaplain of Barracks 466, conducted the service at the grave Msgr. Fitzgibbon read prayers and spoke briefly of the significance of the holiday. There were remarks by William F. Stapleton, member of the Hampden County Commission and also Mr. Windholz.

Later, the veterans visited Mackenzie stadium, Beaudoin Village, a housing project, and the Sgt. Joseph E. Muller Bridge and placed wreaths in memory of the three winners of Congressional Medals of Honor after whom the places were named. [John Mackenzie, Raymond O. Beaudoin, Joseph E. Muller]

The business area had a new look as flags were unfurled for the first time on a holiday. The display resulted from a campaign by the Holyoke Barracks Veterans of World War I. Merchants along the parking meter area purchased the flags which are placed in holders attached to the parking meter standards. Veterans hope other merchants will purchase flags so on the next holiday there will be an “avenue of flags.”

John S. Mackenzie

John S. Mackenzie

Content from The Springfield Republican, C. S. Zack’s Holyoke in the Great War, and personal family photographs.

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