Armistice Day Is
Fittingly Observed Here
- : -
Two Memorials Dedicated at Impressive Exercises Conducted by Veterans
- : -
Morning and Afternoon Parades Preceded Unveiling Ceremonies
||Realization in complete form of a plan begun in 1923, when the triangular plot of ground set aside for a soldiers memorial at Thirteenth street and Providence avenue, took place on Saturday afternoon, when a handsome memorial composed of a huge field artillery piece placed upon a concrete base and surrounded with a fence and landscaping, was unveiled and dedicated by those who have worked unceasingly through the years to see that the men who gave their lives for their country should have a fitting memorial.|
Ceremonies which were held in the presence of more than two thousand spectators and participants in the gala military parade which preceded the exercises were opened with the sounding of "To The Colors" as the national colors were raised to the full height of the staff over the memorial plot, by James Desmond, commander of the American Legion Post, 190, and was then lowered to the half mast in token of respect to the war dead. As the sounds of the stirring call died away another halyard was drawn by Anne K. Jefferies, president of the Sergeant Alfred Stevenson Post, American Legion Auxiliary, and the cloth coverings of the memorial fell away revealing the great piece of ordnance resplendent in a freshly painted coat, and glistening forth in the afternoon sunlight as a perpetual guardian of the plot belonging to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice.
The opening invocation, which was in the form of an Armistice Day memory prayer, was delivered by Rev. William Barrow Pugh, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, of this city, and chaplain of the 111th Infantry, of the National Guard.
Speaking on behalf of the governing body of the city, Councilman Walter H. Craig, made the presentation of the plot to the veterans. Mr. Craig recalled to his audience an ordinance of the city under which the plot was originally granted for use as a monumental place to the veterans and followed his references with formal and public presentation of the place to Lieutenant Henry L. Peterson, marshal of the day, on behalf of the Sergeant Alfred Stevenson Post.
Colonel Fred Taylor Pusey, who saw war service with the 111th Infantry in the war-torn fields of France, was introduced by Mayor William Ward, Jr., master of ceremonies, and accepted the plot from the city on behalf of the veterans.
Colonel Pusey reminded the audience that the bleak weather was similar to a hundred such days of suffering cold and privations by the veterans of this area in the battlefields of the World War. He spoke fondly of the memory of Captain Eddie Lynch as he was making a tour of the battlefields in company with the late Congressman Butler.
Armistice Day in the battlefields was said by Colonel Pusey to have been "a dramatic moment of silence coming after four years din of battle." The speaker said that the momentous event ended a war started by statesmen, but carried on by soldiers. He said that the final get together for the signing of the peace had been by the leaders of all these brave soldiers and not by the statesmen.
"We fought for an ideal and we took the burdens of a war that was not of our making," Colonel Pusey said as he spoke of the sacrifices of Americans in the World War.
Mention was made of the years of the wars aftermath and it was said that the past three years of depression were the cure for the madness born of the war days and were years designed to bring out in everyone the best qualities. It was prophesied by the speaker that another group of leaders would spring up to bring the nation back to a calm course. Not through the extremes of the present European governments of dictators and other revolutionary forms but in a quieter manner. Our present situation was said by Colonel Pusey to be a mild dictatorship under a beneficent dictator, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In concluding his remarks the Colonel accepted the monument on behalf of his comrades in arms in the great world struggle.
Speaking for the veterans, Lieutenant Henry L. Peterson, marshal of the day, extended his heartiest thanks to all who had co-operated in the realization of the memorial project made possible only through a united effort by all concerned. Lieutenant Peterson expressed the hope that the Mayor and city officials would forever assure that the gun and the plot are properly cared for and would turn these charges over to their successors with a thought in mind of perpetuating their appreciation for the services of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the war days, and who because of their loyal service could not be present at the unveiling.
In his reply, Mayor Ward pledged his attention to the care of the plot and then called the minds of his audience to the placing of a memorial wreath upon the base of the memorial by the war mothers as the veil was withdrawn at the opening of the dedication. "This memorial," said the mayor, "should be accepted as a sacred trust by the city. We accept it for those who gave their all and the gun will always remind us of the work they did for us. The city feels its gratitude to those of all branches of the service and will keep the place sacred for all years to come."
Mayor Ward then told of an incident in the war days of the fine and loyal spirit expressed by two war mothers whom he observed as they saw a troop train pass through the city with men going overseas, which was a touching example of the spirit manifest by wives, mothers and sisters over the nation during the days of the great conflict.
Joseph Jefferies, who has worked with the monumental committees since the earliest inception of the plan for the plot, gave a brief resume of the history of the triangular piece of ground held for the project since 1923. He told of the efforts of neighbors to keep the plot in proper condition through the years without any cost to city or veterans, mowing and planting grass there each year. He said that a couple of the neighborhood, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Sharago, who had carried on this work, had asked permission always to be allowed to watch over the place and see that the flag was properly cared for each morning and evening. In token of this regard for the interests of the project Mrs. Sharago was called forward and presented with a bouquet of chrysanthemums by Mr. Jeffries.
A brief outline of the support of the various ladies auxiliaries in the accomplishment of the project was given by Lieutenant Henry Peterson who stressed the importance of their work in the final accomplishment of the plan. He called forward Mrs. Joseph Jefferies, president of the auxiliary of the Stevenson Post, and presented her with a handsome bouquet on behalf of the committee.
Mayor Ward spoke momentarily on the events of the morning when the Immaculate Heart cemetery memorial was unveiled and introduced Rev. William W. Bagley, of that parish, who spoke briefly of his willingness and pleasure of being permitted to work with the committees in arranging both projects. He also paid tribute to Louis Lomax and Patrick Cassidy, veterans of the Civil War, who were seated on the guests platform throughout the ceremonies. In speaking of the fine co-operation making both monuments a success Rev. Bagley expressed a hope that such co-operation would continue for the benefit of the memories of those who had died in their service.
The benediction which was a prayer in memory of the men who had lost their lives in service to the country was pronounced by Rev. Patrick H. McGinnis, of the Immaculate Heart Church.
In conclusion to the events of the afternoon "Taps" was sounded by a bugler of the National Guard and a volley was fired over the monument by a firing detail from Company C, 111th Infantry under command of Captain Peter S. Kochan.
The parade which preceded the unveiling was begun at Third and Norris streets, and traversed the principal streets of the city to the monument where the organizations taking part and the massed colors were grouped about the speakers stand. All units which were present in the morning parade to the Immaculate Heart cemetery, were again in line, in addition to a number of musical organizations which were not present in the morning. Among the outstanding units of the march was the auxiliary of the Sergeant Brush Post, 1521, of the V.F.W. which has appeared in the Armistice Day parades for the past five years, without missing a single formation.
Airplanes of the Twenty-eighth Division observation squadron of Philadelphia, which darted about in trick formations over the scene of the mornings exercises, were not present in the afternoon. Three planes participated in the maneuvers
On Saturday evening the Armistice Day celebration was made complete with a grand military ball held in the Chester Armory, Eighth and Sproul streets, in which all those who had taken part in both exercises to be present. The big drill hall in which the ball was held was made gay with strings of international code and military and national colors strung beneath the high ceiling. The appearance of the dancers was made attractive by the gay uniforms of almost every description which were worn by a large number of the men present who were connected with the various veterans organizations. Music was supplied by a large orchestra which was seated upon a black and silver decorated stand on the left center of the building. The ball was one of the largest affairs ever held on an Armistice Day evening and was greatly enjoyed by several hundred participants. The closing of the festivities at midnight brought to an end one of the most memorable days of patriotic celebration since the cessation of the war in 1918.
All arrangements for the monuments and for the program of the day were cared for by the members of the combined veterans, patriotic and civic committees which met on many occasions and gave great time and thought to the entire program, and much praise and honor is due the efforts of this body composed of representatives of every military, civic and patriotic group of the city.
The Chester Times Monday, November 13, 1933
May 2000 Update: The gun has now been moved across Providence Avenue to a place next to the Fire Station.
© John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 10/18/05