Honoring Somerville's Lost Sons and Daughters

By: Pachatta Pope Email
By: Pachatta Pope Email

Six months ago, three men envisioned Heritage Square in Somerville crowded with residents who felt the same way they did: that the fallen sons and daughters of Somerville needed to be recognized.

Francis Thomas is a World War II Navy veteran who says the proposal for a war memorial monument was supported from the beginning.

"The city was very responsive in that all of the people we talked to were very excited about it," Thomas said.

On Friday morning, he, Pastor Sidney Akin and Bill Hodges were pleased to see their vision realized. The monument bears the names of men who have fallen in the line of duty since World War I.

Besides the monument, the city will also have the "Walk of Honor." Engraved bricks holding the names of more servicemen and women make up the walk way to the monument.

Thomas said both are things he felt the city needed, not only to honor those who died, but to keep their sacrifices alive in the minds of those who see the memorials.

"We are hopeful that it is going to spark a little bit of patriotism and remind them of their past," Thomas said.

The guest speaker for the dedication ceremony, Somerville's own Marine Corps Major Cesar Rodriguez, shares Thomas' idea.

"A lot of times, we take our freedom for granted and it is something you should not," Rodriguez said. "It is not free and it takes people who are willing to fight for it and willing to work hard for it to keep it."

He said events like Somerville's ceremony encourages those in the service to keep doing what they do.

"As a serviceman, it makes you proud," Rodriguez said. "It makes you feel like what you are doing is important when citizens that you are defending support you and pat you on the back."

Placed in a visible part of the city, the monument proudly displays Somerville's appreciation and patriotism.

"I think Somerville should be very proud," Thomas said.

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