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Veterans Honored and Remembered by Medfield Community at Plaque Rededication Ceremony

The May 27th rededication ceremony of the World War II Veteran's plaque at Dale Street School officially kicked off a memorable Memorial Day weekend – paying tribute to and honoring those who have served the Medfield community and country.

The recently unveiled mounted outside of has 153 names on it – remembering those from Medfield, specifically enrolled in the Hannah Adams Pfaff High School, who served in World War II during their teenage years.

On May 27, nine of those 153 names on the list were present outside the school they once attended as guests of honor for the of the plaque that was originally dedicated in their honor by the school’s Class of 1944. The scene of those nine veterans gathered together in front of the newly revealed plaque was one enjoyed by many in attendance.

“It was great,” said Bob Maguire, Superintendent of Schools. “I have been here in the community for almost 20 years and I know these [nine veterans] real well and I know their families, so for me that opportunity to really personalize that sense of community that exists here in Medfield and see the men feel appreciated and see their families be able to experience the kind of emotions that they went through really is what makes it special. Great day.”

Said Medfield Police Chief Robert Meaney Jr: “Spectacular, that’s great [veterans together on stage],” he said. “When I mentioned I knew so many names, I do [know] all of those people up there. They are people that were my father’s age. I knew them through my dad; I knew them from around town. I know them all and have very close connections with many of them so that’s neat that I could get up and just say something decent about them.”

Said Denise Garlick, Massachusetts State Representative of the 13th Norfolk District: “I must say when I saw all the veterans sitting up here together, it was extraordinary to have them know that we understand, respect and honor them,” she said. “I think that’s the most important thing of all.”

Garlick and State Representative Dan Winslow were present at the rededication ceremony to participate in honoring the veterans and offer a proclamation of the plaque and citation from the House of Representatives.

“May it herby now be known that the Massachusetts House of Representatives offers its sincerest congratulations to the Veterans’ Plaque Committee in recognition of the unveiling of the Veterans’ Plaque to honor students of the Hannah Adams Pfaff High School who served in World War II,” Garlick read. “The entire membership extends its very best wishes and expresses the hope for good fortune and continued success in all endeavors, here on this 27 Day of May, 2011.”

Maguire, a member of the Veterans’ Plaque Committee, said he was appreciative of the state representatives’ visit and participation in the ceremony.

“To be able to have [the state reps] here as representatives of the state government, to honor these folks in a real official way is real nice,” he said.

Maguire, along with committee members Nancy Kelly-Lavin, veterans agent Ron Griffin, veterans Tony Centore and Lee Tredway, town historian Richard DeSorgher and Medfield students were very active in bringing this idea of restoring the veterans plaque to fruition and saw it through to the May 27 event. The most important aspect of this project to Maguire was using this process as an education tool for students.

“Just a nice opportunity to honor people that are really heroes to this community and our country,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is making the connection to the students. So many times as it was mentioned, people think of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer and cook out season and all of that but to have the students have the opportunity to really go through an educational experience, where it connects for them in a very clear way of what it’s about. To have them develop the values that allow them to recognize and honor the service of these men and women is probably the most important part of the day.”

Speakers at the May 27 event included Griffin, Winslow, Garlick, Chief Meaney and his son, David, who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.

U.S. Navy and World War II veteran Joseph Ryan, who’s name is on the plaque, and Griffin lifted the cloth to unveil the permanent plaque that will remain visible outside the Dale Street School. The original plaque, which was located in the school, outside the gymnasium, will be donated to the Medfield Historical Society.

“I thought the day was very meaningful for the entire community of Medfield,” Garlick said. “The children’s assembly was so thoughtful and you could see how committed the children were to that and then to actually have the veterans present in the assembly to see the children perform, I thought was a wonderful thing.”

The fourth and fifth graders at Dale Street School participated in their annual Memorial Day assembly one-hour prior to the rededication ceremony – paying tribute to past and current veterans through , poem and demonstration.

Meaney shared his thoughts on Memorial Day and hoped others would remember the purpose of the day.

“It’s more than picnics, it’s more than barbecues, it’s a three-day weekend and Medfield as a community will empty out to a certain extent but then the soccer tournament will come in and the population will likely just about even out but it’s about the veterans,” said Meaney. “It’s about remembering people and the sacrifice that they made and putting their lives on hold. Some were drafted but a lot of them weren’t, they didn’t have to go but they went. It’s just important to remember what the weekend is – it’s not picnics, it’s people, it’s veterans.”

May 27 was for 153 men and women who served their Medfield community and country during World War II, leaving their family, friends and classmates at the Hannah Adams Pfaff High School to fight and defend the freedom of America we have today. That sacrifice and commitment was remembered by a small community gathering and nearly 400 students, honoring these men and women with a plaque and ceremony – just as it was remembered by the Class of 1944.

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