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The war to end all wars

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By The Old Sachem, Bill Stewart

  Along about this time, Independence Day, I remember my Uncle Jim, the youngest of the three brothers, and their sister. Jim was inducted into the U.S. Army and served in battles in France. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, where German forces broke through the Americans, and the savage fighting to restore the American push on Germany. Jim was transferred to Norway after the battle was contained, and said he faced an easy time there because the German forces were left with young boys and old men, no match for the experienced American soldiers. Most of the Germans surrendered. I also had two more relatives who served in the Navy, Frank and Donald Humphries.

  And this also brings me to the plaques that are attached in the hallway entrance of my church, the East Saugus United Methodist Church. We have two plaques mounted on the wall to honor the members who were called upon to serve to preserve the freedom of Europeans, Africans, Asians and Americans. The two plaques include the names of parishioners who served in the service during the Second World War. The first plaque on the left side of the entrance includes three columns of 33 members, and the plaque on the right includes 38 more. Included among the 137 honorees are nine heroes who died in the war. They include Joseph W. Pace, L.R. Shatswell, Francis Bursiel, Robert F. Allen, William L. Hobbs, Hubert C. Amero, Jr., William P. MacCrea, Ralph F. Atkins and A.B. Shelton, Jr. Mabey some of you will remember your family hero among the 137. As long as the church remains, these defenders of freedom will ever be remembered by everyone that enters the sanctuary, and honored around Independence Day now and in the future.

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