“I didn’t realize that when I was growing up I had teachers and bus drivers that were vets that served in Vietnam and the Korean war; I had no idea until I read their obituaries,” Commander Hussar said.
As a result, she’s spent time during the last two months researching the Patterson Historical Society to help remind others what that sacrifice was like for members of our local community.
Four years worth of World War II era issues of the Patterson Irrigator and issues of The Gateway published by the Patterson Township Historical Society were cited by Hussar during a speech she read during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Patterson District Cemetery.
She spoke of those like Patterson’s Billy Logan, who was lost at sea in 1943, and of John Evans who fought in the D-Day invasion at Normandy a year later. She expressed how the brunt of WWII’s casualties was carried by small towns across the nation and Patterson was no different, having enlisted 482 of the community’s 1,100 residents.
Losing a fellow comrade, husband, brother, son, or family member during World War II had become an unfortunate occurrence in too many homes across America at the time, but veterans of American Legion Post No. 168 still make it out to the Patterson District Cemetery to pay their respects.
“We’ve got members in our post that lost a lot of comrades. Some have said they don’t like going out to the cemetery because of that, but they’ll show up for the Memorial Day ceremony,” Hussar said.
In her second year as Commander, Hussar has had the daunting task of not only hosting and organizing the annual Memorial Day event at the Patterson District Cemetery, but also finding new ways to get the community more interested and involved in the ceremony.
One such technique that’s worked is to utilize local guest speakers.
This year’s guest speakers included Victoria Rodgers from the Patterson High School Future Farmers of America group, who read the poem Decoration Day, “Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest, On this Field of the Grounded Arms, Where foes no more molest, Nor sentry's shot alarms!” reads the opening verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1882 poem as recited by Rodgers.
Aside from members of the FFA, who also provided flowers for gravesites and carnations to living service men and women, were members of the American Heritage Girls, Girl Scout troops, and Boy Scout Troops 81 and 82 that were involved in the ceremony.
The American Heritage Girls assisted with the flag tribute while members of local Girl Scout troops assisted with the distribution of flowers and sang the song “God Bless the USA.”
Boy Scout Troop 81 was credited for the avenue of flags as well as for the hundreds of smaller flags and crosses placed at individual grave sites of those buried. Boy Scout Troop 82 was thrilled when asked to be responsible for the posting of the colors during the ceremony, as well as to share the responsibility of placing and removing the city’s flags that are flown around town with the members of Troop 81.
Final Roll Call
A final roll call was read aloud of the 12 members of our local legion who were enlisted and passed away over the previous year. After each name was read aloud, a small bell was sounded and a response of “no answer” was replied. Those listed in the final roll call are as follows: Robert Lee Brazeal, Marine Corps; Daniel Eugene Carlson, Army; Howard Gomes, Navy, World War II; Raymond Jerome Graff Sr, Air Force; Lowell G. Howe, Air Force, Korea; Morris Chantland Knutson, Army Air Force, World War II; Peter Pons Mora, Army, World War II; Tony James Peters, Army Air Corps, World War II; Walter Quave Jr, Navy, Korea; Manuel Sylvia, Army, World War II; Charles “Chuck” Thompson, Air Force, 1947-1950; and Wendol Leland Torrison, Army, World War II.
A Historical Flag
Troop 82 scoutmaster and historical society member Ron Swift presented the burial flag of John “Jack” D. Patterson during the Memorial Day ceremony as well. U.S. Army veteran Jack Patterson was the only Patterson related to the namesake for which the town was given. He lived in his family’s home on Sycamore Avenue as well as on North Sixth Street for many years. His burial flag was recently donated to the American Legion, and in turn donated to the Patterson Township Historical Society to be made available for display within the city’s museum.
Contact Elias Funez at 892-6187, ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.