Armistice Day 2018

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Armistice Day, 2018: Reflecting on the Centenary of the End of World War I

November 11 is known worldwide as Armistice Day, and Veterans Day in America. This year, the world will pause to remember the 100th anniversary, or centenary, of the end of World War I.



One Hundred Years Later
by Tim Curran

What damage can one bullet do?  It was a sunny summer day in 1914 when that question was answered.  The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was touring the city of Sarajevo in the province of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He and his wife Sophie were visiting the city to open a new state museum. This day should have been nothing more than the standard state protocol with a speech or two and a state dinner at night. This was not to be, as Franz and his wife were shot by a Serbian nationalist by the name of Gavrilo Princip. Both died within minutes, Franz’s last words pleading for his wife to live for their children.  The bullet that ended Franz’s life started a chain of events that would lead all the major nations of Europe and the United States into a war that would engulf millions.  That bullet also changed my grandfather’s life as well.

I never knew my grandfather.  When he died in 1962, it would be a full ten years before I was born in 1972. Even though I never met him, my mother would tell me stories about him. He was a tough man, as many were of that time period. She worked for him during her high school and college years in a Salem, Massachusetts drugstore that he managed until his retirement. Being the manager’s daughter meant that she was worked harder than the other employees (spoken with a half-smile on my mother’s face, when she tells me about her adventures behind the counter dealing with employees and customers).  She also told me stories me about how every night during WWII that he would sit by the radio and listen to the reporting of the war that was consuming the world at that time. Of course, many people in the United States did that during the war. Except my grandfather was not like many of the other people. He had been to France in 1918 and marched on much of the same ground that American troops were marching on again.

My grandfather had served as an artilleryman in the US Army during World War I. He enlisted when he was 26 while living in Biddeford, Maine.  He trained at Fort Devens with logs at first to simulate artillery, as the Army did not have enough equipment to go around. This is hard for us to imagine now that the US Army could be so ill equipped for war! He shipped out over the Atlantic in a Navy-protected convoy so that the U-boats prowling the Atlantic would not be able to pounce on defenseless ships. Arriving in France, he and his unit finished their training with something deadlier then logs and were transferred to the front in September of 1918. The end of the war that had consumed millions into an abyss of fire and steel was only a month away. Yet, in such a short time from the American declaration of war in 1917 to the end of the war in 1918, over three hundred thousand Americans would be casualties with 58,000 being killed.

The war that he entered had been going on since 1914. Nations primed on nationalism and militarism only needed a flashpoint for a general European war and that was provided by the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist. From this event, the world was catapulted into something close to an apocalypse.  World War I was a conflict unlike any other in world history. Fully industrialized, modern nations stood toe-to-toe for four long years feeding a generation of men into a meat grinder. Modern armaments like machine guns, artillery, barbed wire, flame throwers and poison gas made the battlefields open graveyards. Trenches would stretch almost unbroken from the Atlantic Ocean to the border of Switzerland. These trenches, the iconic image of the war, were the only protection from the hail of bullets and artillery that would sweep away men by the thousands in open land.  But trenches were not the only horror of the war, as Italians and Austro-Hungarians fought in frozen mountain passes while Germans and Russians fought over the vast plains of central Europe. But no matter where you fought, the horror of this war would find you. Over thirty-eight million men became casualties with around nine million being killed. On average, that would be six thousand men killed with about another twenty thousand a day being wounded.

That horror also found my grandfather. My mother only knows the bare bones of this story, as he would almost never speak of his time in the war. He and his unit were shelled and gassed during the Meuse-Argonne campaign of 1918. That is all he would tell her, though the screams of his nightmares would be more descriptive to her then anything he could explain to her. What he experienced, he carried with him to the end of his life. Just like the millions of men that survived this butchery over the course of the war. The collective trauma of this war laid a pall over this generation and affected all the ones coming after in untold ways. Millions of men would be haunted by the images of death and horrific disfiguring wounds and carry it with them forever. They would try and re-enter society and would succeed to varying degrees. The families that lost loved ones would also be affected and carry that trauma as well. No one escaped the reach of this war.

After four long years of slaughter, the world powers that were left agreed to an armistice. There was a certain poetic sense that on the 11th month, the 11th day and the 11th hour, the guns would fall silent and the world, brought to the precipice of total collapse, would be saved. Yet, was it? The conditions that brought this war to an end would only ensure another war. Germany, faced with accepting total responsibility for this war and crushing monetary payments, would nurse this resentment and allow Adolph Hitler to use it for his rise to power. World War II was essentially a continuation of the war that started almost twenty years before. Many would consider that war the one that gave us the modern world, but it was the death throes of World War I that would serve as the birth pangs of the modern world. The Soviet Union came from this conflict. The United States, only a regional power before the war, would emerge as a first-rate world power -- with New York being the financial capital of the world after the previous financial capital of London had been hollowed out paying for years of war. The political world map that solidified after WW I would be something that most people would recognize today. 

However, as we close on the 100th anniversary of the end of this war, we should reflect not on the politics or the borders that changed with this war. We should try and remember the people that fought and sacrificed their youth, minds and lives trying to do what they thought was the best for their respective nations. Look into your family history and you may be surprised that you have a relative that served or was affected by this war.  And as I write this, I am thanking the officer who trained my grandfather on how to wear his gas mask, as his survival was necessary for my existence. This November 11th, think of and praise not only the veterans who served, but of the people who saw the end of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars.

Tim Curran has been teaching history in Westford at the Stony Brook Middle School for twelve years and recently did a one year teacher exchange at Westford Academy.  He is currently teaching a World War I class at Nichols College.
    

If you would like to learn more about The Great War, Mr. Curran recommends:

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
The Great War by Peter Hart
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
A World Undone by G. J. Meyer

They Shall Not Grow Old (documentary film by Peter Jackson, 2019)






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photos of Westford Common memorial, by Heather Monahan

“When, to curb the unbounded ambition of the Germanic warlords, to save the vestiges of a waning civilization, to restore peace to a war-stricken world and to uphold its own honor, the United States was forced to enter the most stupendous struggle in the annals of history, one hundred and sixty-one young men and women of Westford responded to their country’s summons and in Army, Navy and hospital served honorably and faithfully until victory was won… To Live In Hearts We Leave Behind, Is Not To Die”

IN MEMORIAM

Edward J. Bechard

J. Norbert Brule

Thomas Costello

Adelard Langley

Napoleon J. Lanctot

Antonio Palermo

Charles Smith

Orion V. Wells

Antonio Lozzi

EDWARD J. BECHARD served in the Army and was one of nine Westford men who died during World War I, eight of whom who were killed in action. May we never forget his sacrifice and service to our nation.

JOSEPH NORBERT BRULE (June 24, 1895-November 9, 1918) was one of six children born in Canada before his family moved to Westford. He served in France in the Army, Company B, 305th Field Artillery Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. The Westford Wardsman reported that Pvt. Frank H. Sullivan, who left Westford with Pvt. Brule and served with him until his death—just two days before the end of the war—verified that his 23-year old friend from Graniteville had contracted pneumonia after being gassed, “and being in a weakened condition after having returned from a hard drive, had not the strength to combat the disease.” A memorial marker for Pvt. Brule is located at the corner of Beacon and North Main streets (Greig’s Corner). He was laid to rest at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France, 155 miles northeast of Paris.

THOMAS COSTELLO was a native of Forge Village who reported to the Division 15 selection board at Camp Devens (as Fort Devens, newly finished, was then known) to enlist in the Army in April, 1918. He was assigned to Company A of the 58th Infantry, 4th Division, 8th Infantry Brigade, a unit that was formed at Gettysburg in the summer of 1917. A year later the 58th boarded the HMS Moldavia in Brooklyn, NY for its voyage to France. Before crossing the Atlantic the ship stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where troops viewed the devastated port city, flattened by an explosion resulting from the collision of French munitions ship Mont Blanc with the Norwegian ship Imo in the harbor at the end of 1916. Moldavia, the flagship leading a convoy across the Atlantic, was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat (submarine) UB-57, on May 23, 1918 in the English Channel off Beachy Head, between Lands End and the Isle of Wight. Of the 480 soldiers aboard, 56 were killed instantly, almost all men from Company B. The surviving soldiers, presumably Pvt. Costello among them, went on to the front where they fought through Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne offensives. Thomas Costello was killed in action. He was a son of Westford and we remember his life and sacrifice with respect and gratitude.

ADELARD J. “ALDAT” LANGLEY (December 12, 1897-May 5, 1918) was the first soldier from Westford to die in The Great War, in France, while serving with the Signal Corps of the 95th Aero Squadron ("the Kicking Mules"), a First Pursuit Group that prided itself on being the first fighting aero squadron sent to the Front. The Westford Wardsmen reported that Pvt. Langley was “a bright, active lad of only 20 years of age,” originally rejected by the Navy because of his short stature. Undaunted, he joined the aviation corps and trained at Long Island, San Antonio and Canada. One of his squadron mates was the youngest son of former U.S. President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, 21-year old Quentin, who was shot down and killed in July, 1918. Pvt. Langley's own parents, Joseph and Annie (Pellerin) Langley, lived on River Street (near Fourth Street) when they received their telegram from the War Department notifying them that their son had died of a fractured skull. They waited three long years for the return of his body, but they were the only Westford family whose son was returned to them after being killed in the war.

Pvt. Langley was laid to rest in Westford with full military honors on June 6, 1921. Four horses pulled an Army caisson bearing Pvt. Langley’s flag-draped casket from Westford Center to Graniteville. Fellow hometown war heroes served as his honor guards and pallbearers (including Walter Beebe, Walter Blanchard, Frank Charlton, Joseph Costello, Edward Healy, John Healy, Edward Hanley, Alfred Hughes, James McKniff, Joseph Perkins, Frederick Picking, and Charles Robey) representing every branch of the service. A band from the Abbot Worsted Co. led the long procession to St. Catherine’s Church, where a vast crowd silently gathered inside and outside the church to attend the solemn high mass. At St. Catherine’s Cemetery, an honor guard fired a three-volley salute over his grave and “Taps” was mournfully sounded and echoed. A memorial plaque for Pvt. Langley is located at River and Broadway streets in Graniteville near his former home.

NAPOLEON JOSEPH LANCTOT (June 24, 1894-September 11, 1918) was a native of Graniteville who reported to Camp Devens with several Westford men, including Thomas Costello, in April 1918. He served with the Army’s famed 26th "Yankee" Division, Co. M, 101st Infantry after training. The Lowell Sun reported on Oct 25, 1918 that Pvt. Lanctot’s parents, Napoleon and Corinne (Auclair) Lanctot, and his siblings Louis and Corinne received a telegram from the War Department at their home on Third Street notifying them that their 23-year old son and brother had died in France after a short but severe illness (more than likely related to the deadly flu pandemic then galloping across the globe, spread by the war itself). A memorial plaque for Pvt. Lanctot is located at the corner of Third and Broadway streets. He was laid to rest at Saint Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France.

ANTONIO “TONY” PALERMO (November 15, 1898-October 14, 1918) was a native of Forge Village, the youngest of 15 children born to Samuel and Nunzia (Manzia) Palermo. He served in France with Company K, 104th Infantry, also with the 26th "Yankee" Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. “We hardly see a civilian around here,” he wrote in one of his colorful letters home. “A civilian has as much chance over here as a snowball has on a good hot summer’s day—that is, unless he is well fortified with papers.” In the letter published by the Westford Wardsman, he described surviving on meager rations (“Uncle Sam gives us our breakfast—hard tack and corn willy”) and witnessing incredible sights. “The rats around here are as large as dogs,” he wrote. “The other night we saw a rat chasing a cat.” He also had a close look at the remains of a Boche aircraft “with two charred bodies of Germans,” after they had been shot down by French airmen and took “a head-long dive at a height of 10,000 feet.” Pvt. Palermo was killed in the Argonne Drive, just a month before the end of the war. “He was in my company and was a good kid,” wrote his friend, Westford soldier Matthew Elliott. “I tell you it knocked the hell out of me when he got his, but his day came.” A memorial plaque for Pvt. Palermo was placed near the corner of Pleasant Street and Palermo Street, named in his honor. He was laid to rest at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.

CHARLES SMITH, JR. (September 9, 1878-September 28, 1918) was born in the West Yorkshire village of Keighley, England, northwest of the city of Leeds, whose family was enticed by textile agents from the Abbot Worsted Mill seeking laborers. He was the oldest of seven children of Charles William and Bridget (Crave) Smith, who moved his family to Forge Village in 1910 to seek work in the textile mills. Smith was already a veteran who served three years in the British Army with the West Riding Regiment, and was living as a laborer in Providence RI, when in February 1918 he went north to Montreal to enlist, at age 40, with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.), 1st Depot Battallion, 1st Quebec Regiment. Canadian authorities, reported the Westford Wardsman, notified his familly that Pvt. Smith succumbed to wounds he received two days before, just two months before the end of the war. Pvt. Smith was laid to rest at Bucquoy Road Cemetery in the village of Ficheux, France. "Merciful Jesus Have Mercy On Me," reads the inscription on his simple cross, "Rest In Peace. Amen." Westford named Smith Street in his honor and placed a memorial plaque near the corner of Smith and East Prescott streets, in the neighborhood he was proud to call home.

DR. ORION VASSAR WELLS (November 8, 1880-October 4, 1918) was a beloved local physician who often visited his patients on horseback, and frequently mentioned in the Westford Wardsman for his good deeds. In 1917, as the U.S. prepared to enter the ongoing World War, the paper reported that Dr. Wells had tended to four-year old Helen Greig, who broke her collar bone falling down a flight of stairs; aided a man who was thrown from a motorcycle; gave a lecture on “bandaging and first aid” to the local Boy Scout troop; stitched up the face of a man who fell from a tree; and arrived too late to save the life of a woman struck by lightning. He was born in Bakersfield, Vermont to Lucien and and Katherine Learned Wells, and was described as a tall and slender gentleman with gray eyes and black hair.  Dr. Wells enlisted in the newly-organized 19th Division of the Massachusetts State Guard, Company L, and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the Medical Corps. In 1918 he was preparing to enlist in the regular Army and serve in Europe when the good doctor himself fell victim to the influenza pandemic, exacerbated by the massive movement of closely-quartered troops during the Great War and which would infect roughly 500 million people, killing an estimated 50 million worldwide. This staggering number of dead from the flu, roughly one-third of the world's population at the time, was in addition to the estimated 20 million killed in the war. Another 20 million people were wounded and deeply affected.

Dr. Wells was just shy of 38 years old and left behind his young wife, Mary Alice (Morrill) Wells, (who died in 1972, aged 91) and three small children -- Elizabeth, Huntington and Richard Orion, who would all follow their father into the military and serve in the next World War. “The wide circle of Dr. Wells’ patients and friends are trying to adjust themselves to his sudden death this last week, going out from among them in the prime of his manhood, and of his usefulness,” the Wardsman sadly reported. “Dr. Wells was taken sick on Monday of last week with influenza, which developed into pneumonia, and he died late the following Friday evening after a sharp, suffering struggle with this disease, although everything possible was done to save his life. He had worked heroically to help others during the epidemic, going night and day to answer the many calls, and his illness was brought on from overwork in the profession that he was so devoted to. He was a good soldier–he died in the service.” Dr. Wells was promoted to Captain after his death, and the Wardsman reported that a State Guard troop company escorted him to his rest in the East Division of Fairview Cemetery on October 8, 1918. “As the company returned from the cemetery the bugle was sounded at intervals, making an impressive tribute in the perfect beauty of the autumn day.” A memorial plaque to Dr. Wells is placed near what was once his home, near 29 Main Street and Graniteville Road in Westford center.

ANTONIO LOZZI (April 7, 1895-June 10, 1918) was the son of Vincenzo Lozzi, born in the village of Vittorito in the province of L’Aquila, Italy. We believe he emigrated to the US in 1913, arriving in Boston aboard the ship Canopic, at about age 18. Although his connection to Westford merited his inclusion among the nine WWI heroes listed on the town’s war memorial, Pvt. Lozzi eventually settled in Everett, MA, where he registered for the draft in 1917. Four years after arriving in America he was fighting for his country in the 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division of the Army. After he was killed in action, 23-year old Pvt. Lozzi was laid to rest under a white cross of Italian Carrara marble on Mont Valerian overlooking Paris, France, with over 2,500 other American soldiers at Suresnes American Cemetery. Westford gratefully remembers his service and sacrifice.


Heather Monahan, Senior Administrative Assistant for Cemetery & Veterans Services, wrote these brief biographies based on information found on Ancestry.com, The Boston Globe, cdc.gov, cwgc.org, familysearch.com, findagrave.com, geneaologybuff.com, livesofthefirstworldwar.org, The Lowell Sun, St. Catherine Church newsletter 2009, worldwar1centennial.org, excerpts from the Westford Gazeteer by Robert W. Oliphant found under the "Westford Memorials" link on the Veterans Services webpage, and the Westford Military Index on the same webpage. Appreciation also to Elizabeth Almeida of Westford’s Board of Selectmen, who remembered these men in a moving speech delivered during Veterans Day observances in Westford on November 11, 2018.

ArmisticeDay201802FlandersField

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place, and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe!

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high!

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

                                        ~ John McCrae (1872-1918)

 


World War I Veterans of Westford

Fairview Cemetery

Edward Moseley Abbot *
Walter Orrin Beebe *
Arthur C. Blaisdell
Chester E. Blaisdell *
Frank L. Blaisdell
Walter Lowell Blanchard *
Samuel Luther Blodgett
Walter Arthur Blodgett
Carl S. Brewster
Walter A. Brooks
William Folland Buckingham *
John J. Burns *
Harold H. Butcher
George Butko
Dr. James Dearborn Christie
John Edward Clement
Robert Clement
James D. Colyer
James H. Cone
John Edward Cook
James H. Corey
James Hunter Crocker *

Ernest G. Cummings

Ora D. Darling *
Claude Day
Robert Choate Dexter *
Dr. Charles Dudley
Charles Franklin Dupee *
Harold Hill Fletcher
Ralph Andrew Fletcher *
Arthur Griffin Fullford
William Carrol Furbush *

Harry Waldo Gibson

Saul J. Gordon
Arthur T. Greenslade *
Ralph G. Haberman, Sr.
Eddie B. Hallberg
Axel Friedolf Hanson *
Arthur Griffin Hildreth *
Clarence Edwin Hildreth *
Leon F. Hildreth
Justin Burton Jenkins
Frank C. Johnson
John Cochrane Leggat
Eva Mae Lord *
Helen Jennie Lord *
Philip David Lord, Sr.
Francis J. McDonough
Charles F. Ellsworth Miller
William Hugh Mills *
Forrest P. Nelson
Harold Edward Nye
Joseph John Perkins *
George E. Perkins
Clarence O. Phillips
Joseph J. Phillips
Frederick H. Picking *
Frederick W. Potts, Sr.
Charles Versal Eastman Robey *
Edmund Dix Rogers *
Rufus Nelson Rowe *
Marden Homer Seavey *
Edmund D. Smith
John W. Spinner *
John W. Stiles
Frederick M. Stuart *
Howard W. Sweetser
Paul E. Symmes *
John Adams Taylor
Frank Daniel Tucker *
Ephraim Vickers *
Joseph George Walker *
Dr. Orion Vassar Wells (died during WWI) *
Paul E. Wells
Roger D. Wilkins
Harry G. Whitney *
George D. Wilson
Joseph G. Wolkowich
Norman Herbert Young *



St. Catherine of Alexandria Cemetery

Harry J. Carney
Joseph “Victor” Auguste Caron
Homer Oscar Chandonait *
William Bernard Chapin
Henry Francis Charlton
Raymond Vincent Charlton *
Filippo Colasanti *
Harold Frederick “Pete” Connell *
Leo James Connell *
Joseph Francis Costello, Sr. *
Thomas J. Costello, Sr. *
Thomas J. Costello, Jr. *
Adelard Adam Cote
Leo Joseph Cote
Joseph Raymond Courchaine *
Alfred J. Couture
Henry G.E. Couture *
Resimon J. DeGagne
Ernest Leo Downing
Donat Donald Dupuis *
James Matthew Elliott *
Frederick J. Fitzpatrick, Sr. *
Joseph H. Graham *
Alberic Grenier *
Edward T. Hanley *
Joseph E. Holmes
William Joseph Kelly, Sr.
Paul Walter Lahme, Sr. *
Wilfrid Lamy
Adelard J. “Aldat” Langley (killed in action) *
Stanley Joseph Lavigne *
Lorenzo Joseph Lefebre *
Richard A. Lyons
James Joseph McKniff *
John Thomas McKniff, Jr.
Owen Andrew McNiff
Emile Joseph Arthur Milot *
Antonio Joseph Napoleon Milot
Joseph Nadolny
Margaret C. O’Hara *
William H. Orange
Robert James Orr, Jr. *
John A. Pietkiewicz
Anthony B. Pivirotto *
Thomas Stephen Rafferty *
Joseph O. Romeo
Frank Patrick Shugrue
Charles Nathan Sleeper *
Edward J. Smith *
Margaret D. Smith
Michael Joseph Sullivan
Mary Agnes Thompson
Alfred Tousignant
Emile Tousignant
William Leo Wall
Margaret Mary Walsh
John Francis Young, Sr.

Westlawn Cemetery

Carl Frederick Haussler
Richard Samuel Manuel

Wright Cemetery

Albert George Forty
Carl Gilman Wright
Ernest Tebbetts Wright, Sr. *



Veterans buried outside Westford or in unknown locations

Harry J. Aaron, Sr.
Howard Akerley *
William G. Atherton *
George L Barry *
Edward J. Bechard (killed in action) *
Henry A. Beyer *
Edgar C. Bibeault *
Leroy E. Bicknell
Ernest W. Bridgford *
Joseph Brule *
Norbert J. Brule (killed in action)
Daniel C. Caless *
Wilfred J. Carpentier *
Frank Charlton *
Wiley Cooper *
D. Cote *
Alexander Couch
D. Courchaine *
Dwight W. Cowles *
P. Crocker *
Walter L. Cutler
Francis DaSilva *
Emerson Andrew DeRoehn
Ralph A. Dodge *
William J. Duke *
Gustaf Eliason *
Matthew Elliott *
Louis J. Gilbert
R. Grant *
John Gray *
Herbert Hanley *
William Harrington *
William T. Hart *
Walter A. Hartmann
J. C. Heald *
Edward Healy *
F. C. Healy *
John Healy

Alfred Hughes
Thomas A. Hughes
Victor Jacques *
James E. Jelley *
H. Johnston *
Francis J. Kearney *
H. Kimball *
Adrian Laboissonniere *
Napoleon Joseph Lanctot (killed in action) *
Austin Lawrence *
A. Lemeri *
Antonio Lozzi (killed in action) *
Leon C. Mansfield *
Clarence E. McElman *
Arthur Noel *
Francis Nowers *
Carl Harry Nylander *
J. O’Niel *
Antonio Palermo (killed in action) *
George H. Parson *
Henry N. Patrie
Edward Perkins
F. Perkins *
Joseph Perkins *
Joseph Perry *
William Henry Perkins
R. Pickering *
Miner W. Pomeroy *
Alfred T. Reed *
Philip P. Ross
Frederick Sanford
A. Shaffer *
Ovila Sicard
Charles Smith, Jr. (killed in action) *
Samuel Stewart *
Douglas Sullivan
Frank H. Sullivan *
Clayton T. Taylor
F. Tousignant *
Charles White
Earl A. Woods
Paul Estabrooke Zuver



*Many of our “Honor Roll” veterans resided in Westford at least 30 years. Visit the Westford Military Index and the Honor Roll database on the Town of Westford’s Veterans Services department webpage to learn more.

ArmisticeDay201803Troops

 We Shall Keep the Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

 

 Moina Michael was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" to write this poem in 1918.



Heather Monahan, Senior Administrative Assistant for the Westford Cemetery and Veterans Services departments, created this tribute page with sincere thanks to Tim Curran for his marvelous essay and the Westford Information Technology department for their technical expertise. To say ‘thank you’ to our World War I veterans and their families seems inadequate, but necessary; our country owes them a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay.