Opinion

Jourgensen: On the corner of history

Drive through any intersection in Lynn — or most communities, for that matter — and you will pass a small sign mounted on a pole bearing the name of a veteran immortalized by fellow comrades and a grateful community.

Holbrook Square at the corner of Ingalls and Elmore streets was dedicated in 1994 in honor of William A. Holbrook, who was killed in World War II. Three generations of Holbrook’s relatives attended the dedication honoring his sacrifice.

Killed in 1918 during World War I, Edward M. McGloin is immortalized on High Street at the base of the Highlands where the former Highlands Square was renamed during a ceremony that included Ambrose Gorman, father of one of McGloin’s comrades, who sent news back to Lynn that McGloin had been killed.

Lynn residents killed in World War I continued to be honored more than a decade after the war’s end with two squares dedicated on the day before Independence Day 1935.

Kelly Square at Western Avenue and Maple Street was named after Peter E. Kelly, who died in 1931 from injuries sustained during a wartime poison gas attack.

Basil A. Timmonds was 17 years old when he was killed in France. Essex Street near Mudge Street is marked with a sign honoring Timmonds.

In 1994, the city honored a woman veteran for the first time by dedicating the corner of South Common and Blossom streets to Connie Booras Roche, a World War II Coast Guard ensign who died in 1991 only after she organized a care package campaign for military personnel serving in Operation Desert Storm.

Roche banded together with fellow women veterans from Lillian Jennings American Legion Post 243 and friends at St. George Greek Orthodox Church to mobilize the package drive.

In 2005, the intersection of High Rock Street at High Rock Terrace was named in honor of Nazareth Ghazarosian, a Highlands resident who was 19 when he was killed in 1943 fighting in Italy.

Western Avenue at Franklin Street is Gagne Square named for Leo A. Gagne, killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Union Street at Silsbee Street is Freeman Square named for Frank Foster Freeman, killed in the World War I battle of Belleau Wood.

The junction of Willow, Blake and Munroe streets and Central Avenue is named after Spanish-American War veteran John J. Linehan.

Every day, not just Veterans Day and Memorial Day, is an opportunity to remember veterans, and testaments to their service and sacrifice are right down the street.

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Speaking of veterans, Marc Courtemanche talked many times with the late Moe Atherton about Atherton’s World War II service, including the time Atherton endured an artillery barrage that lasted for days, filling the air with flying metal and tree splinters. Atherton and his comrades crawled under trucks to avoid the shrapnel.

“Thank God for those trucks, or I never would have had the pleasure of the many rounds of golf that we played together,” Courtemanche said.

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I appreciate Iris Kimber sharing past winter memories, including the practice of blowing a foghorn to signal a snow day for school students. My wife’s older relatives remember when blizzards left roads clogged with snow and plows limited their work to bus routes.

The great James T. Leonard is still in possession of the greatest Lynn snow story. The former superintendent was driving around the city early one morning surveying the streets to determine if school needed to be cancelled when he stopped at a light and a lady of the evening opened his passenger door and climbed in.

“One of us is getting out of this car,” Leonard told her, “It might be me but I would appreciate it if it was you.” His would-be passenger complied.

Thor Jourgensen is Editorial Page Editor. Send “don’t ask” suggestions and answers to questions to [email protected]

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