Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Freedom Every Day

I most often read the Weymouth News on-line these days. I like that format because it allows for comments even though a lot of people can’t seem to get around name calling and staying on subject. The past couple of years have been tough on our Town Of Weymouth, as it has been for all the cities and towns, and most of the news and subsequent comments can be a bit disheartening, even cruel; but that’s America for you, having the freedom to say what you want.
Personally, I’m proud of my town and the long tradition it has of recognizing those that defend our right to say what we want. No matter where I go in this town I see signs that remind me, not only that freedom shouldn’t be taken for granted, but that maybe things really aren’t all that bad here at home. Not too long ago I was traveling down Pleasant Street by Mutton Lane just after the sun had gone down and saw a lone figure walking over to the corner owned by Lt. Commander Laurence MacFawn. The head lights of passing cars lit up the man’s full white beard as he placed two United States flags on the Commander’s sign post and I thought “Wow, I guess that’s what Santa does when it’s not Christmas.” I smiled to myself for thinking that, knowing full well that the man was Weymouth’s Veterans Affairs Officer, Frank Burke. Mr. Burke has had to deal with budget cuts like all town employees recently and I suppose if he decided to skip placing those flags here and there, that they might not be missed. The thing is, Commander MacFawn was a Weymouth guy who piloted a jet off of an air craft carrier during World War Two. He was part of a unit called “The Saints” who sank quite a few Japanese war ships in the Pacific. In fact he did the same thing in the Korean War and probably would have done the same thing in Vietnam too, but because he chose a life of sacrifice, he made the ultimate sacrifice one day when the fighter he was piloting crashed. I figure at some point the economy will get better and all those people that got laid off will be back to work soon.
I often find myself sitting in traffic these days on Main Street. I still like to call it Main Street even though the State of Massachusetts has kind of taken it over and it’s better known as Route 18 now; and there are traffic lights and Dunkin Donuts galore all adding up to congestion and road rage. Whenever I’m sitting there, I try to remember to look over at Ernest Mowry’s sign. It’s not far from the Stetson Building on the median between Main and Front Streets. I fully expect that someday the sign will be gone, and never replaced. That’s what happened to Parker Jones sign further up Main Street by Factory Paint. For some reason, we’re calling it Poole’s Corner now. It may have been called Poole’s Corner before Parker Jones gave his life for our country and that’s okay, but they could have left his sign there. All I know is nobody remembers that it was named for Parker Jones. Second Lt. Jones was killed in action during the First World War, but he grew up right there on Pond Street not far from that intersection.
Anyway, it’s always a pleasure to see Private Mowry’s sign still there, with flags on it. Ernest Mowry actually grew up on Central Street, over by Stella Tirrell Park. He was an original member of the Fifth Marine Regiment. They were one of the first of America’s Expeditionary Forces to see the front lines, or Western Front in World War I. He was wounded on three separate occasions, returning to battle each time, until finally a bomb cut him down. That was in 1918, just 9 days before the Germans surrendered. He finally made it back to his hometown almost 3 years later, when his remains were repatriated. The American Legion helped bury him in that cemetery up on Pond Street and then a little while later the town remembered him by placing that sign there on Main Street. I don’t mind sitting in the traffic so much when I see his sign, with the flags on it.
I hear Mr. Burke will soon have another sign to put flags on. It’s going to be on Pleasant Street over by the High School. It’s going to be named for another young Marine Sgt., named Andrew Farrar, who died in Iraq. That corner isn’t far from the high school football field that’s named for Army Sgt. Jeffrey Mullin who was a casualty of the Gulf War; and about a ¼ mile the other way there’s Lt. Ralph Talbot’s street and corner. It’s hard to believe that young Weymouth men, and now even women, still have to go to faraway places to defend our comfortable hometown. It’s good that our comfortable hometown remembers them and reminds us every day, not just on Memorial Day, that things aren’t so bad.