VFW com­mem­o­rates 100th an­niver­sary of WWI ar­mistice

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

When­ever a vet­eran walks into VFW Post 475, he or she walks past the name of Lt. James Al­li­son O’Daniel, a young man who left Ne­wark to fight on for­eign shores a cen­tury ago and never made it home.

The first Delawarean killed in World War I, O’Daniel died when his plane crashed dur­ing a re­con­nais­sance flight over France in July 1918. Ne­wark’s VFW post was named in his honor two years later.

That fact made Post 475 a fit­ting lo­ca­tion to host a cer­e­mony not only cel­e­brat­ing Vet­er­ans Day but also mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I.

“This is a spe­cial day in our col­lec­tive his­tory,” Matt Turner, of Post 475, told a group of vet­er­ans and other res­i­dents gath­ered out­side the post on Sun­day morn­ing.

The cer­e­mony in­cluded a mo­ment of si­lence, the play­ing of “Taps” and an honor vol­ley fired by the VFW honor guard.

“This is a day to rec­og­nize, thank and honor both our fallen com­rades and all the liv­ing vet­er­ans who have honor­ably served in the mil­i­tary in war time and in peace,” said Tom Kelly, ju­nior vice com­man­der of Post 475.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, mem­bers of the Hogs and He­roes Foun­da­tion un­veiled a statue they do­nated to be dis­played out­side Post 475. The statue, which de­picts a bat­tle­field cross, re­places a pre­vi­ous statue that was da­m­aged by van­dals on In­de­pen­dence Day 2016.

Army Lt. Col. Peter Wal­ton, who served in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and the most re­cent war in Iraq, gave the key­note ad­dress. He said all vet­er­ans, from those who served early in Amer­ica’s his­tory to those re­turn­ing from the Mid­dle East to­day, are de­serv­ing of the na­tion’s re­spect.

“They did not go to war be­cause they love fight­ing; they went be­cause they wanted to be part of some­thing big,” Wal­ton said. “They went be­cause they were or­di­nary peo­ple who re­sponded to ex­tra­or­di­nary times. They rose to the na­tion’s call for many rea­sons, but best of all, they came be­cause the na­tion asked them to.”

He noted that all across the coun­try on Sun­day, Amer­i­cans were paus­ing to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices of vet­er­ans.

“It’s a way we say ‘We re­mem­ber,’” Wal­ton said. “From the sol­diers at Val­ley Forge to the Dough­boys in the trenches of France to the spe­cial de­tach­ments work­ing in the mid­dle of the night in Afghanistan, we re­mem­ber and honor them all.”

Ne­wark Coun­cil­man Jerry Clifton, who is re­tired from the Delaware Na­tional Guard, re­cited the World War I me­mo­rial poem “In Flan­ders Fields.”

“On be­half of 34,000 grate­ful peo­ple in the city of Ne­wark, thank you to ev­ery one of you for your ser­vice,” Clifton said.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Matt Turner, of VFW Post 475, speaks Sun­day dur­ing a Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the 100th an­nivesary of the end of World War I.

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