NB Elks Honor Veterans at HSC

By at November 16, 2017 | 2:15 pm | Print


On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, the New Britain Elks Lodge 957 usually marches in the Veteran’s Day Parade, but it was canceled by the State. This year the Elks decided to do something special at the local level instead.

Some of the Elks are security guards at the Hospital for Special Care, 2150 Corbin Ave. They noticed patients and employees are veterans and wanted to honor them.

“It’s nice to put on a Veteran’s Day program for the veterans,” said Donald Woscyna, past exalted ruler and district deputy. “The Elks don’t forget veterans. We are thankful for the work that they have done for our country.”

The program was led by Robert Ferone, past exalted ruler and past district deputy.

Tom Anderson, chaplin at Hospital for Special Care, said the opening prayer.

“Someone once defined a veteran as any reservist or active duty or discharged or retired service person who at one point in their life wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life,” said Anderson. “We gather today to honor the living and those who have gone to be with their creator.”

Ferone spoke about the history of Veteran’s Day and what it means to the Elks.

In 1918, in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, an armistice was declared between the allied nations and Germany in World War 1. Nov.11 became a federal holiday in 1938.

After the aftermath of the Korean War and World War 2, it became known as Veteran’s Day.

Memorial Day honors those who died and Veteran’s Day honors all veterans living or dead.

“In 1918 to accommodate the maimed and wounded the Elks built a 700 bed hospital in Boston and gave it to the federal government. This hospital was a forerunner of the VA hospitals we have today,” said Ferone. “Another facility was to be in New Orleans, but the government decided it was not needed.”

When the first hospital was built the Elks made a pledge that, “so long as there is a veteran in our hospital, we will never forget them”. When the hospital was turned over to the government the Elks amended the pledge to “as long as there are veterans, we will never forget them”.

The Elks Lodge Commission did many other things for veterans including raising funds for the Salvation Army.

More than 70,000 Elks served in the armed forces in World War 1. Over 1,000 perished.

“In 1940 it was becoming quite apparent to many people that war was quickly approach our shores. That year at the Grand Lodge Session in Houston, the Elks unanimously voted to establish the Elks national defense and public relations commission,” according to Ferone. “The United States Army asked the Elks Commission to recruit 45,000 young men for the ground crews of the army air force. With the help of local lodges, they recruited 97,000 men.”

In 1951 the secretary of defense needed blood for wounded. The Elk lodges obtained half a million pints. Elks also sent letters to those in battle and were among the first to welcome troops home.

“It is the veterans who have blazed the trail of freedom with their blood,” said Ferone. “God bless our veterans. God bless our troops and God bless America.”

A ceremonial laying of the wreath was then performed with James Caplik performing taps.

Each service member in attendance was presented with a pin that said “Elks Thank You.”

.News Feature

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