Initial Ceremony Begins Active Program To Erect Monument

Taken from: Southbridge Evening News - Monday, June 6, 1938

Actual work was started today on the Legion World War memorial by D. T. Morrill, local representative of the Rock of Ages Co. of Barre, Vt., which was awarded the contract for the monument that will be dedicated on Aug. 27.

The first official act in the establishment of the long-sought memorial occurred at fitting ceremonies Saturday afternoon when Elia Christo, the first man from Southbridge, drafted during the World War, pushed a shovel deep into the newly leveled soil and scattered the dirt over the pit which will be the location of the monument.

The program opened with the Wells High School orchestra playing "America" after the Sons of the American Legion Drum and Bugle corps marched from Town Hall, down Park St. to Everett and Main Streets and up Main and Elm to the site of the future memorial park.

Thanks Audience

Alfred J. Peloquin, chairman of the World War committee acted as master of ceremonies and, in a brief speech, thanked the 300 persons present for their part in making the memorial possible.

"This is the first step," Mr. Peloquin said, "in the erection of a memorial to the Southbridge veterans of the World War. Only the generosity of the Southbridge people has made this project possible.

Mr. Peloquin then presented the shovel to Mr. Christo while photographers took pictures.

Valmore P. Tetreault, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he had received a letter from Sen. David I. Walsh notifying him that the project had been approved by the government. W. P. A. assistance will be furnished in the establishment of the park. He related the record of Mr. Christo and the work of Legion Commander H. Emerson Hill in pushing the project this year.

"Southbridge is proud to have its first memorial," he declared, "and on Aug. 27 we will have one of the most fitting celebrations ever given veterans of any war."

First to Enlist

Mr. Hill, during his speech, paid tribute to Arthur Allard who, he said, was the first Southbridge man to enlist in the World War, joining the Navy on April 15, 1917.

In closing his address, Mr. Hill referred to three women in the audience - Mrs. Arthur Allard, Mrs. Elizabeth Simpson and Mrs. Harry Hill - who he said served on the Welcome Home committee when the Southbridge veterans returned from the war. He also thanked the members of the committee for their work on the memorial and citizens of the town for their cooperation.

The ceremony closed with the High School orchestra playing "The Star Spangled Banner" and the drum and bugle corps marching back to the Town Hall.

Comment: Video of Dedication of the Memorial and the Parade taken by Alfred Peloquin of Arizona, formerly of Southbridge, is available at Jacob Edwards Library to borrow.

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