by Fran Byers
The sun shone brightly in Clark Park on Saturday, November 8, as neighbors gathered at the Gettysburg Stone in Clark Park to pay tribute to all those in the Armed Forces who have sacrificed, past and present, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in America.
After a greeting by Doug Naphas, President of the Friends of Clark Park, Frank Innes told how his father built “Bailey” bridges in France during World War II, and that the large flag traditionally used at this ceremony was presented to his family at his funeral. Guitarist Doug Hall accompanied everyone in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Bill Hunter introduced four HMS students: Brett Marsh, Emily, Sam Karp and Diana Rich, who described the history of Veterans Day and Satterlee Hospital with their computerized communications devices, activated by their eye gaze. They also led the audience in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Boy Scouts John Cherry, Jorge DeSilva, Daniel Ruley, Jacob Stills and Tymir Griffin of Troop 152, St. Francis de Sales, participated under the direction Troop Leader Michael Horsey. Two of them held the Innes flag aloft in front of the Gettysburg Stone while John Cherry read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Veterans in the audience were introduced by Sgt. Major Wallace Presley and Colonel Cynthia Wilson, director of the Philadelphia Veterans House. They represented the various armed services in nearly all of the wars from World War II forward. They were Staff Sergeant Robert Iannucci, First Sgt. John Jamison, Tim Szerlick, Tom Sheridan, Javan Tilghman, Henry Thompson, Joseph Mixson, Doug Hall and Lauren Leatherbarrow’s father, Dr. Jim Watkins, a Navy Lt. Commander in World War II.
The Philadelphia Veterans House works on a slim budget, and donations of food and money to help it extend its scope of service would be much appreciated. Contact the House: 4108 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia PA 19104, 267-292-2052, www.phillyvetshouse.org.
All present joined in singing “God Bless America” while two Boy Scouts folded the American flag in military fashion. First Sgt. John Jamison solemnly laid flowers at the base of the Gettysburg Stone to conclude the ceremony. As we go about our daily activities, let us remember to give thanks to veterans that we meet for their service and to pray for them and their families who have sacrificed so much.
Note: In continuing a long-standing tradition, students from the HMS School and Boy Scouts participated in the placement of the Gettysburg Stone in Clark Park in 1916 by grateful neighbors in thanks for the fine work performed by the medical staff at Satterlee U.S. Army Hospital. Satterlee was the nation’s largest Army hospital during the Civil War. The hospital was situated northwest from Baltimore Ave. to approximately 46th and Pine St. and treated at least 60,000 sick and wounded soldiers until its close in 1865.