Honorable mention

05Nov21

It leapt out at me as I drove past the marquee sign in front of the high school.

I wasn’t annoyed so much as bemused. I took a picture and posted it on Facebook with the light-hearted comment, “Did they run out of letters?”

The responses from the local “Kindness is Everything” community were anything but light-hearted.

“You’re making a big deal out of nothing!” I was told.

I don’t know. I think Veterans Day is kind of a big deal. If you think it’s “nothing,” just know that veterans fought and died for your right to believe that.

I was told that I was just “looking for attention.” That much is true. I was looking for a little attention for veterans.

I was informed that they always post just the date on the sign, never the holiday or event.

Maybe so. We know that “Christmas” and “Easter” long ago vanished from the public school lexicon. Yet somehow “Winter Break” (formerly Christmas vacation) seems to appear on the sign every December, as does “Spring Break” a few months later.

Perhaps Veterans Day could be euphemized as “Fall Break.”

I should have shared my thoughts regarding the sign with the school directly, another commenter berated, rather than posting on Facebook.

I seriously considered doing that. Then I remembered what happened last spring, after nearly 3,000 Wakefield voters told the school that they would like to keep their high school logo.

Yet another astute individual told me that since I’m in the sign business, I should take matters into my own hands. Hate may have no home here, but ignorance apparently does.

Speaking of which, I get the feeling that very few people know what the “Memorial” in “Wakefield Memorial High School” stands for, including many who daily roam those hallowed halls.

It stands for veterans.

Back in 1954, there was much discussion about a suitable name for the newly constructed high school building. Some veterans’ organizations wanted to use the names of Wakefield’s three Korean War dead to memorialize the high school library, the gymnasium and the new building as a whole.

The School Committee at the time felt that it would be more appropriate to pay tribute to all veterans of all wars who gave their lives for their country. So, they chose the name “Wakefield Memorial High School.” But they also voted to place a plaque in the building honoring Wakefield’s Korean War dead: Gerald Scott, Richard Marson and Edward Meuse.

In the 1970s, when the town decided to flip the high school on Main Street and the junior high on Farm Street, the name continued with the institution, Wakefield Memorial High School.

The plaque honoring the Korean War dead remained in its original location until it was time to build a new Galvin Middle School. At that time, the plaque was moved to back where it belonged, in Wakefield Memorial High School.

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.

It’s kind of a big deal.

[This column originally appeared in the November 4, 2021 Wakefield Daily Item.]



5 Responses to “Honorable mention”

  1. 1 Nancy Trimper

    I agree!

  2. 2 nicholas dicredico

    its called a break because it lasts longer than a day

  3. 3 Anthony Antetomaso

    Thank you Mark. Good column, as always. I little “snippy” in places, but it’s hard not to be when dealing with pinheads.

  4. 4 Ed

    Facts matter — it was the new ADDITION TO the existing high school. The Atwell building that burned in the 1970s, which was where Mullen field is now.

    But the issue is larger — instead of teaching US History, we now teach Social Justice & CRT. And few today realize that the Korean Conflict was less popular than Vietnam — its why its called the forgotten war.

    The first guys over there were WWII vets who thought they were done with war and were p…ed to be called back. And an 18-year-old in 1950 had been born in 1932, it was the children of the Depression who got drafted for Korea, and that was a very small generation.

    I give you credit for reminding people of this.

  5. 5 Ed

    Mark,

    What on earth is going on at 60 Farm Street?!?

    If the parents are right, why aren’t there criminal charges yet? And if there aren’t, what right does the school have to exclude him?

    SCOTUS just ruled that schools can’t punish social media stuff. And then there is the Jake Baker precedent.

    Why do I fear that this is gonna wind up as an expensive lawsuit?


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