November 11, 2018 ~ Bedford Observes the Centenary of the Armistice Ending World War I

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
With images by Barbara Purchia and Julie Turner

A bright sky shone on Bedford’s observance of the Centenary of the Armistice that ended World War I, the Great War, at 11 am on November 11, 1918, at Compiègne, France.

Before Bedford’s official ceremonies began at noon, the American flag was raised at 11 am in Veterans Memorial Park. American Legion Commander Jon OC O’Connor reported, “Exactly as the 66th Security Forces detachment from Hanscom Air Force Base stood at attention, at the split second they rendered their sharp courteous and respectful salute to Old Glory, signifying and honoring our flag with only 46 stars back then, it was 100 years ago the Armistice was signed to end the War to End All Wars, the bells of Bedford rang in approval in remembrance of that day.”

There were prayers, patriotic songs, and speeches to honor WWI Veterans and those lost in later conflicts, both large and small.

The Parade


The Speakers

Monsignor William Cuddy, pastor of St. Michael Parish, offered the invocation.  Msgr. Cuddy has impeccable military credentials. He is a retired Navy Captain whose career was spent as a Chaplain in the US Navy and served as the 8th Chaplain of the US Coast Guard.

Commander O’Connor’s spoke of military Veterans, “All who have served ……..  All who served 100 years ago in the Argonne, to those who served selflessly on the beaches of Normandy, those who served at the frozen Chosin Reservoir, those who gave their all in the Mekong Delta rice paddies, those who endured the sweltering deserts of Iraq, the unthinkable house to house close combat in Kandahar, and all other unknown places around the world. . . . these Veterans are the real Red, White, and Blue – the True One-Percent – for it is today’s all-volunteer Armed Forces who answered our country’s call for Peace – Liberty – and Freedom.   God Bless our Veterans and God Bless the USA.” Click this link to read Commander O’Connor’s full remarks

Looking back to 1918, a Peace Rally was held on Armistice Day itself. It was attended by practically everyone in town, according to Selectman Bill Moonan’s research. “A parade was held starting at the town hall and proceeding down South St., across Loomis St., and up Main St., (now known as The Great Road), to Willson Park, and back to the town hall.  Torches and flags were carried by the participants.  All gathered in the hall afterward for a community sing.  Three rousing cheers were given for the Allied Nations and their leaders, ending with America and President Wilson.  At the close of the meeting, a dummy replica of the Kaiser was escorted through the hall by several pallbearers, and another parade formed which marched to the Union School grounds where the Kaiser was cremated in a tremendous bonfire.” Click this link to read Selectman Moonan’s full remarks.

State Representative Ken Gordon invoked the words of President Woodrow Wilson  at the conclusion of The Great War:  “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with a solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” Click this link to read Rep. Gordon’s full remarks.

Faces In the Crowd

The ceremony closed, according to tradition, with Taps, played by a pair of trumpeters from Bedford High School’s Marching Band echoing across Veterans Memorial Park.

The Bedford High School Marching Band

Honoring Bedford’s Veterans Every Day

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