Bedford veterans to be honored at Old Town Hall

All veterans, their neighbors, family members and friends are invited to attend “A Salute for Serving,” scheduled for 2 p.m., on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, at Bedford’s Old Town Hall, 70 Bedford Center Road.

Bedford’s Myles Walker, a World War II veteran, will be among those honored. Walker, 92, flew B-24s and B-29 Superfortresses. He and his wife, Verna, met at a United Service Organization dance were married in 1945. She only recently passed away. Walker and the crew flew wartime missions that included 13-hour, round-trip bombing runs from Guam to Japan and back again. He was a part of the “Show of Power,” a massive fly-by over the USS Missouri that took place during the Japanese surrender aboard the ship.

Other men and women of Bedford who served in any war will be individually recognized at “A Salute for Serving,” sponsored by the Bedford Historical Society.

The presentation of “A Salute for Serving” will include special renditions of some of America’s favorite patriotic tunes performed by members of the Bedford High School Band. The school also will provided a color guard.

State Representative John W. Cebrowski will share a presentation on the Vietnam War. An honor blanket – a handmade work of art meant to convey the warmest of regards to the recipient – is expected to be bestowed as a gift upon one or more veterans. The third annual of its kind, “A Salute for Serving” serves as recognition to all of Bedford’s veterans.

Bedford Historical Society members Margaret Wiggin, co-president, Margaret Goodrich, secretary, and Kay Klein, technical adviser, were on-hand Nov. 3 at the society’s headquarters – a vintage schoolhouse alongside Town Offices in Bedford Center. They welcomed visitors wishing to see the schoolhouse and an adjacent museum packed with vestiges of Bedford’s bygone years. A quiet moment enabled reflection upon some of the history of the Bedford community as it pertains to veterans.

The trio saluted the efforts of the Friends of the Town of Bedford Cemeteries for its stewardship of much of the history of the town’s servicemen and women of the military. The group’s dedication to maintaining and repairing stones in Old Bedford Cemetery on Back River Road enables today’s visitors to see inscriptions dating to colonial times. The oldest grave there is dated 1745 and a number of veterans of the Revolutionary War are interred there.

Wiggin recalled her school days at Stevens-Buswell School, named for local World War I veterans Willis Stevens and Frank Buswell. The pair from Bedford died not from wounds but from illnesses. Stevens enlisted in 1917 and died a year later of rheumatic fever. Buswell died the same year of Spanish influenza. Goodrich noted in several wars, influenza, typhoid, malaria and other illnesses took a heavy toll on the troops. During WWII, Wiggins saw troops marching past the school.

“We got to stand in front of the school and watch the National Guard driving down the road, heading toward New York,” Wiggin said. “Vehicle after vehicle passed, going through the town. We have veterans from just about all of the various wars. Memorial School was founded for those who served in World War II.”

Today, neighbors in the community continue to serve in all branches of the military. The National Guard is active. The Air Force Reserve is well populated. Their members and others are welcomed in many retail establishments on Veterans Day. Local business owners on Veterans Day recognize the commitments and oftentimes extend discounts or complementary items to veterans on that day.

Bedford’s Danny Somaru, proprietor of Carrabba’s Italian Grill at 2 Upjohn St., is one who shows his support. He held a quick meeting on Nov. 3 with staffer Cassandra Delisle, 27, of Hooksett, who for six years has been a member of the Air Force Reserve. She also attends University of New Hampshire Manchester, where she is majoring in computer technology.

Somaru said he is pleased to adjust Delisle’s schedule so that she can more easily perform her monthly commitment with the 58th Aerial Port Squadron. Delisle is a part of a team that loads and unloads supplies, troops and other passengers. She has been to Iraq. Neither gunfire nor other distractions deter the team.

“Whatever happens, you just do your job,” Delisle said.

Somaru said he is grateful for all veterans’ sacrifices and hopes that any diner who is veteran will accept a 25 percent discount on food during the course of Veterans Day week – Sunday, Nov. 10, through Saturday, Nov. 16. He commended the work of the Bedford Historical Society to honor the town’s veterans at the upcoming ceremony.

“It is the dedication of veterans to our country that has made this the Live Free or Die state,” Somaru said. “We wouldn’t have that freedom if it wasn’t for the veterans and the active military of today.”

Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to “A Salute for Serving.” For more information, contact Bill Earnshaw at 472-3866 or by e-mail at bnle0@gmail.com.