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Saluting One of Their Own

by Bobby Blair
March 3, 2013

The "Greatest Generation" is quickly passing before our eyes and fading away. In a tribute Saturday morning to remember those WWII Veteran's still with us, the Charles F. Duford Post #47 American Legion instituted a new program to honor the town's oldest veteran. The brainchild of Legion member Steve Bradford and Post Sr. Vice Cmdr. Jim Carbino the honorarium is fashioned upon the presentation of the Boston Post Cane.

Sixty relatives of 99 year old Grace Monahan of Cranberry Lane along with veterans, friends, town and state officals gathered in upper town hall at 11 A.M. to pay homage to the former U. S. Navy Chief & Storekeeper and almost centenarian.

While Monahan was unable to attend the Town Hall portion of the event, an entourage proceeded to her home on Cranberry Lane to pay tribute to Holliston's oldest living veteran just prior to noon on Saturday.

The plaque above was presented by Legion member Steve Bradford to Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Jay Marsden for placement in town hall.

The unveiling of a ceremonial glass enclosed sword representing Holliston's oldest veteran was handled by Riley Greendale daughter of Legion Post Commander Alan Greendale 2nd from left. Riley helped her dad create the glass cabinet. Looking on were Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Jay Marsden (left) and Selectman Kevin Conley far right a neighbor of Monahan's.

The handsome U.S. Navy ceremonial sword circa 1964 was a gift to the Town of Holliston by resident and former Navy Captain Donald Bates of Bullard Street. Coincidentally Bates is the great nephew of George Sherman the last WWI veteran in town to die. Sherman was also the holder of the town's Boston Post Cane for a short period.

In addtion to Selectmen Conley and Marsden, State Senator Karen Spilka made a presentation on behalf of the State Senate. Representative Carloyn Dykema brought greeting from the House of Representatives. Also in attendance were Veteran's Service Officer John Givner and VFW Commander Ralph Stover.

Guests and relatives some traveling from New Hampshire enjoyed coffee and cake when town hall festivities concluded.

Officials then traveled to Monahan's home on Cranberry Lane which she shares with her sister Thelma Pond, retired Holliston teacher. Above Legion Commander Alan Greendale shows Monahan the sword which will hang in our town hall in her honor.

Selectman and neighbor Kevin Conley greets Monahan while originator of the day's events Steve Bradford looks on.

Rep. Carolyn Dykema greeted Monahan and presented her with a citation from the House of Representatives. Seated in the room was Monahan's sister Thelma Pond and when those assembled learned that her birthday marking 101 years was the previous day, Friday March first, a spontaneous round of Happy Birthday was sung. When Miss Pond was asked how she was feeling by this reporter and telling her my name as a former student, she replied "I'm alert thank you and I remember you". Not bad for 101.

Thelma Pond and Grace (Pond) Monahan above.

With nearly 55 WWII veterans still living in town, the ceremonial sword may change hands many times before Korean War Veterans vie for the honor.

The town's next ten oldest veterans are:

Carl Field 5/16/14  ----deceased

Walter Rossini 5/1/17

Robert Murray 5/31/20

John Berini 8/10/21

all the following born in 1922 in order of birth:

John "Babe" Johnson

Everett Blair

Robert Lapointe

Harvey Brown

Phyllis Highman

John Coffey

Harry Kramer -- dob - 1923


Posted in Local Lore.

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Comments (3)

Nice story. What a great way to honor Grace and all of our veterans in town.

- Karen Maki | 3/3/13 9:08 AM

Thank you to all the veterans!!!

- JM Brown | 3/3/13 6:26 AM

Thank you so much for honoring our veterans. My father, Carl Field, born on May 16,1914, passed away at the Chelsea Soldiers Home. He received several of his World War II Medals from Congressman McGovern at a ceremony at the Home in 2009. The MetroWest Daily News has a wonderful picture of him receiving his medals at the Home. He enjoyed his friends in Holliston at Cole Court and at the Holliston Senior Center.

- Stephanie (Field) Brett-Bell | 3/3/13 6:13 AM



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