By Beth David, Editor
Many municipalities will observe Veterans Day with ceremonies this Sunday. The Bells of Remembrance will also chime at 11:11 on Sunday, 11/11. You can get the app for your smart phone at ww1cc.org/YourAce.
Acushnet will hold a Veterans Day Ceremony, Sun., 11/11, at Pope Park, 96 Pope St. (off Main), 9:50 a.m. Event will include musical selections, opening remarks by Selectboard chairperson Michael Cioper, Ford Middle School Choral Group, flag raising, dove release, USCG helicopter flyover, color guard with laying of memorial wreath, and closing remarks at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Fairhaven Parade & Flag Raising
Fairhaven will hold its annual Veterans Day Parade on Sun., 11/11, at 9 a.m., Main St. from Oxford School south to Fairhaven High School
Annual parade to honor all veterans is followed by a brief ceremony, including raising the “Big Flag” and cannon-firing in front of Fairhaven High School. Veterans and other marching groups are welcome to line up at Livesey Park at 8:30 a.m. Parade steps off at 9:00 a.m.
Flag Raising at Ft. Phoenix at 8 a.m. and lowering at 4 p.m., includes small cannon salute. The public is invited.
New Bedford, Saturday
The members of New Bedford’s Veterans Advisory Board extend an invitation to area residents to attend New Bedford’s Veterans Day ceremonies, including a service in memory of World War I veterans of the National Guard’s 26th Yankee Division 102nd Field Artillery, Battery D of New Bedford.
The New Bedford based unit lost 22 young men from the city during World War I. The Battery D service will be held at National Guard Artillery Square, where the monument erected to Battery D stands, at the corner of Kempton and North streets, on Sat., 11/10 at 1:00 p.m.
Refreshments will follow at the Waldron Barrack, 1092 Kempton St. The “doughboy” statue at the square was modeled after Warren M. Frank, city resident and Battery D veteran, and was originally dedicated on May 30, 1924.
NB parade, Sunday
Sun., 11/11, starts at Buttonwood Park, corner of Rockdale and Union, and ends at City Hall and the Main Library in downtown New Bedford, where a service will be held. Steps off at 11 a.m. It is presented by the City of New Bedford Veterans Advisory Board Veterans Day Parade Committee.
At 11 a.m., marking the signing of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, bells will toll across the country including the bell in front of the New Bedford Main Library, 613 Pleasant St.
All veterans are invited to march. Gather at the intersection of Rockdale Ave. and Union St. (Buttonwood Park) at approximately 10:30 a.m. and the parade will step off at 11 a.m. sharp.
The parade route has changed this year due to ongoing roadwork in the City. The parade will march east on Union St., then turn north onto County St., and then turn east onto William St. to the reviewing stand in front of the New Bedford Main Library on the corner of Pleasant and William.
A Veterans Day service will be held at the reviewing stand at the conclusion of the parade and all participants and parade attendees are encouraged to attend. Seating will be reserved for elderly and disabled veterans near the reviewing stand.
The New Bedford Veterans Board has announced that Octavio “Tacky” Pragana, a Navy veteran in World War II and Korea and a retired New Bedford police officer, has been named the grand marshal of the 2018 parade. Mr. Pragana is 92.
He was born March 12, 1926 in New Bedford and enlisted in the US Navy in 1943 during World War II.
On Oct. 13, 1944 he was aboard the USS Canberra, 90 miles off Formosa, now known as Taiwan. The ship was struck by an aerial torpedo, killing 23 crew members instantly. He was uninjured and stayed on the ship, which was repaired and traveled on its own power via the Panama Canal to Boston.
Before the Canberra was struck, Pragana earned seven battle stars in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and two battle stars for liberation of the Philippines. He later served in the Korean conflict era on the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy from 1950-1952, and was honorably discharged from the military in 1952. He eventually became a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1982, and is a member of the auxiliary to this day.
When his full-time military service ended, Pragana returned to New Bedford and eventually became a New Bedford Police officer. Through the years, he worked for the department in a variety of roles, including detective, motorcycle officer and firearms instructor.
Pragana retired in 1988, but he never really left. Nearly every day, he grabs a cup of coffee and heads to police headquarters. He chats with officers, volunteers at events and works out at the gym in the basement of Station Three in the North End. He is such a familiar and beloved figure doing his workouts that the New Bedford Police Union named the gym in his honor.
Please join us at the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Military Museuum, 1000C Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, on Sun., 11/11, at 2 p.m. for a ceremony for the centennial of the ending of World War I. After the ceremony the museum will have the grand opening of the newest exhibit. Museum hours for that day will be 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
The museum will also be participating the Bells of Peace at 11 a.m. on 11/11. The nationwide bell-tolling is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and service of veterans of the Great War, and all veterans. Citizens and organizations across the nation will toll bell 21 times at 11 a.m.
Free admission, free parking.
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