Malden’s Annual Veterans Day Parade was held Saturday, November 11th kicking off at Elm and Pleasant Streets. There was a brief pause during the parade route to hold a Veterans Day Memorial Service at the YMCA, formerly the Armory, with a Wreath Laying at the World War I and World War II Memorials. Mayor Gary Christenson and Veterans Services Director Kevin were joined by Veterans, local elected and City officials and the many Parade participants who marched despite the cold weather.
The celebration was particularly poignant as World War II Veteran James V. “Jim” Hanley, 92, was honored as this year’s Grand Marshal. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on November 2, 1944 at the age of 17. On June 19, 1945, PFC Hanley was fighting the Japanese during the last great battle of the Pacific War. He had just seen his best friend in the Marine Corps shot and killed and he was injured slightly in the leg with shrapnel. He was ordered to advance up to enemy lines to lay down smoke grenades that would shield his fellow warriors in an attack. As they approached the Japanese lines, they came under intense fire from the enemy. Within hours Hanley was shot in chest, arm, neck and back.
For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy forces during the assault and capture of Okinawa, Hanley and his fellow Marines were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and also the Purple Heart Medal. Through their valor and tenacity, Hanley and his comrades in the SIXTH Marine Division contributed materially to the conquest of Okinawa. He was honorably discharged on April 12, 1946 after two years of service to his country. For his service in WWII, Hanley was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.
Malden Veteran Monument and Memorial Square Points of Interest Map
Director Jarvis also announced the new Malden Veteran Monument and Memorial Square Points of Interest Map that was created to document the many Veteran Monuments, Statues, Memorial Squares and Plaques located throughout the City. These tributes were dedicated to honor the service and sacrifice of thousands of men and women from Malden who have answered our country’s call to arms and bravely served in the U.S. military all over the world for hundreds of years. Director Jarvis along with Mayor Christenson and his staff have worked to replace, restore and photograph the various monuments to our veterans to memorialize their heroism so that all can read about Malden’s heroes. To visit the Veteran Monument and Memorial Square Points of Interest Map, please visit: http://www.cityofmalden.org/content/malden-veterans-points-interest-map.
Restoration of World War I Memorial
Also announced this Veterans Day was that the project to restore the existing World War I Monument at Devir Park at the corner of Malden Street and the Fellsway is currently underway. At last May’s Memorial Day Rededication Ceremony of the World War I Monument at Devir Park, Mayor Christenson announced the formation of a WWI Monument Restoration Committee. The Memorial Day ceremony commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the United States entry into WWI. The Committee’s goal is to add two additional bronze plaques with the names of the 1,500 Malden residents who faithfully served our country during WWI, but who are not recognized for their service on any City monument. The WWI Monument, located in the Edgeworth section of Malden on the corner of the Fellsway and Malden Street was dedicated on July 4, 1920 and contains approximately 500 names of the estimated 2,000 Malden men and women who served in the U.S. military during WWI.
It is estimated the project will cost approximately $50,000 and City will seek donations and apply for grant monies to accomplish the Mayor’s goal of honoring all 2,000 Malden men and women who served this country 100 years ago. The work will be done by November 11, 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I, the day the armistice was signed at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Released by the Office of Mayor Gary Christenson
Photos by City of Malden