By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Freddy Jackson, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422, was the guest of honor during the city’s Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony Monday morning at the World War I Armistice Memorial on the Green.
Jackson was originally selected by the West Haven Veterans Council to serve as grand marshal of the Memorial Day parade last year, but it was canceled because of rain; then this year, but it was canceled in the interest of public safety because of the threat of lightning; and now next year, when he will try to lead the procession once again.
Jackson, 72, concluded his remarks, joking, “Third time’s a charm.”
Despite the parade’s cancellation, a patriotic crowd of more than 100 Veterans Council members, residents, state leaders and city officials, including Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, City Council members, fire chiefs and police officers, gathered in front of the memorial to honor America’s fallen heroes.
Jackson, with help from American Legion Post 71 member Joseph Weber, who was grand marshal of the 2014 Memorial Day parade, laid a wreath at the base of the granite memorial, which prominently displays a World War I doughboy. Jackson was also joined by AMVETS Post 1 chaplain Francis Blanchette, former West Haven Vietnam Veterans President Steve Carney and Veterans Council President Dave Ricci.
The memorial is “Dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives in the World War 1917-1918.”
The half-hour ceremony featured remarks from O’Brien and state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven.
O’Brien, who paid his respects to the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, said, “We owe our veterans a great debt of gratitude.”
The solemn service included an invocation by Blanchette, a poetic reading and benediction by AMVETS member Lynn Warner, and taps played by former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon.
John W. Lewis, executive assistant to the mayor, served as the master of ceremonies.