TALE OF TAKOMA: We have a veterans’ memorial?

PHOTO: A Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony held by the Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos of Cub Scout Pack 33 honoring military veterans brings attention to the city’s War Memorial. Photo by Lee Howard.

TALE OF TAKOMA • BY DIANA KOHN

Cub Scouts of Takoma Park Pack 33 gathered in the triangle park opposite the city library on November 11 to honor war veterans with a wreath-laying ceremony at the little-noticed War Memorial. The date marks the 11th minute of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when an Armistice finally silenced the battle guns of The Great War and a weary world rejoiced.

By the time the city dedicated this Memorial on November 11, 1957, two additional world wars had eclipsed the horrors of “the war to end all wars.” Accordingly, President Wilson’s original designation of “Armistice Day” was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all wars, living and dead, who have fought and sacrificed for the common good. Recent decades continue to add to that toll.

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A memorial wreath placed by Webelos Cub Scouts Boone Schaffer (left), and Trevor Howard (right). Photo by Diana Kohn.

Each of the four pillars of Takoma Park’s simple white marble monument carries the insignia of one branch of the Armed Services. In lieu of individual names, an engraving on the lintel across the top declares its purpose:

“ENSHRINED HERE
IS ETERNAL TRIBUTE
TO THOSE WHO FOUGHT
OUR COUNTRY’S BATTLES”

For a brief period beginning in 1971, Veterans Day was relegated to the 4th Monday in October as part of the Uniform Holidays Act, which created four three-day holiday weekends. Given that states determine official  holidays within their realms, most continued to honor veterans on the traditional date. As of 1978, the federal government restored the federal version to its proper place on November 11.

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Cub Scout flag-bearer Mack Schaffer. Photo by Diana Kohn.

Takoma Park’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 350, founded in 1921, were the primary movers behind building the War Memorial here. In 2015, the VFW presence is more often connected with their Post headquarters in the Pinecrest neighborhood, a popular site for concerts and parties, than with the memorial itself.


Read Diana Kohn’s 2006 Voice article “Remembering the War on Veterans Day.”


Meanwhile, Boy Scout Troop 33 invites the public to join the celebration of its 95th anniversary with a chili supper this Saturday from 5-8 pm at the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church. A display of photos and artifacts traces Troop history. Tickets are $10/adults and $5/children & seniors.

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Cub Scout Pack 33 honors veterans November 11. Photo by Diana Kohn.

 

About the Author

Diana Kohn
Diana Kohn is president of Historic Takoma, Inc., which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the heritage of both Takoma Park MD and DC. Diana is co-author of Images of America: Takoma Park, a photo history of the town.

1 Comment on "TALE OF TAKOMA: We have a veterans’ memorial?"

  1. HELL YEA we have a neglected Veteran’s Park.
    Was there when they first dedicated it in the mid-50’s.
    Never saw so many older gents missing a leg or an arm;
    sleeve or pant leg pinned up with a safety pin & medals on their chest..

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