Restored memorial in Hudson, OH recognizes 81 veterans of WWI
By Laura Freeman
via the MyTownNEO Northeastern Ohio News web site
Note: This restored memorial in Hudson, Ohio recognizes 81 veterans of Great War, with help from U.S. World War I Centennial Commission partner reenactors Seth and Garrett Moore. The restoration of this memorial was part of the Commission's 100 Cities/100 Memorials program -- Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission
HUDSON, OH — At the 11 hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the “Victory Bell” tolled 21 times on the southwest green to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting in World War I.
The 21 tolls, based on the 21-gun salute, symbolize the nation’s highest honor.
The Nov. 11 ceremony ended with the unveiling of the restored 30-inch by 60-inch bronze tablet displayed on a temporary wood pedestal, containing the names of 80 men and one woman from Hudson who served in World War I. The United States participated from April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918.
About 150 veterans and visitors gathered at the memorial, located near the the Boy Scout log cabin. A member of Boy Scout Troop 321 tolled the bell while WWI Doughboy reenactors Garrett and Seth Moore of Columbus stood at attention on each side. Bugler Steve Masowick from American Legion Post 685 in Streetsboro played taps.
Inside the cabin, the Rev. Richard Shipley gave the invocation, and Mayor David Basil read a proclamation to recognize “Bells of Peace: A National World War I Remembrance” for the 4.7 million Americans who served.
Western Reserve Academy historian and archivist Tom Vince talked about the 81 people from Hudson who served in World War I.
Word of the end of the war was transmitted by telegraph, and Hudson First Congregational Church of Hudson tolled its bells at 7 a.m. in 1918 to let people know peace had arrived, Vince said.
“We know by noon Nov. 11 all businesses in Hudson closed their doors and people of Hudson rallied on Main Street,” Vince said. “The old bandstand near the clock tower was festooned with flags and bunting.”
The weekly Hudson Independent notes that “Hudson citizens bore on their faces the mark of deep emotion and many eyes were filled with tears,” Vince said. “Traffic was heavy,” he said with a laugh from the audience. “From every touring car and truck came shouts of victory as they passed through town.”
Western Reserve Academy had a parade and celebration at the chapel, and the Hudson Fire Department had a bonfire on the green, Vince said. They sang “When the Boys Come Home” and the Red Cross ladies in uniform marched into the chapel at the end.
The end of the war drew celebration, but 1918 Hudson had other problems, Vince said.
“The flu was the dark subtext of everything going on in 1918,” Vince said. “The city celebrated the end of the war, but the flu had decimated residents of the Hudson area.”
David Hudson Lee, a descendant of the Hudson founding family, died in Germany in 1919, and the last Hudson soldier to return home was Ray E. Chapin, who worked on a newspaper.
Jim Garrison, adjunct of the American Legion Lee-Bishop Post 464, said the local post was formed by 15 of the 80 citizens returning from WWI.
Nurse Martha Clark, the only woman listed on the tablet, was born in 1878 to Horace and Isabella Clark, according to Mialie Szymanski, regent of David Hudson Chapter DAR. She was a school teacher and registered nurse, and was 38 years old when she joined the war effort and cared for influenza patients on Long Island.
She died in 1946 and is buried in Markillie Cemetery.
Clark joined DAR since 1921, which emphasizes education, patriotism and historical preservation. Szymanski said 90,000 women served in WWI, and their roles helped to argue for women’s rights.
Scoutmaster Rob Searson said Hudson’s Boy Scout Troop 321 will celebrate its 100th birthday in December. The cabin was built in 1931 and the stone pedestal which supported the WWI bronze tablet was built using stones left over from the stone fireplace in the cabin’s chimney. Boy Scouts from Troop 321, Nathan Herchl, Charlie Moffa, Jason Dement and members of the Hudson High School History Club, Claire Reber and Yuhan Kim read the 81 names engraved on the tablet.
Chairman Christopher Bach of the Hudson WWI Memorial Restoration and Centennial Committee presented Mayor Basil a certificate and bronze plaque designating the memorial as one of “100 Cities/100 Memorials World War I Centennial Memorial.”
To date, the Hudson WWI Memorial Restoration and Centennial project has raised more than $6,850 through the local community, service, veteran’s groups and individuals. Bach said that a year ago on Sept. 27, 2017, through the 100 Cities/100 Memorials matching grant program, the project was one of 100 WWI memorials selected nationwide to receive a $2,000 matching grant towards the restoration, conservation and maintenance of the Hudson WWI Memorial.
“Without these donations and grants, the restoration of Hudson’s WWI Memorial bronze tablet would not have been possible,” he said.
A fundraising campaign for a new stone pedestal/base will continue through spring 2019, with a formal re-dedication ceremony planned for Memorial Day 2019, which will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of Hudson’s WWI Memorial bronze tablet original installation and dedication on the west elevation of the Clock Tower on “Decoration Day” 1919.
“Hudson’s WWI Memorial is part of our history,” Bach said. “The men and women in Hudson served in the Great War with purpose. It was also important to them to serve their nation. The memorial is proof of their dedication to serve and to freedom.”