Veterans groups mark WWII anniversary

COVENTRY — Dressing the World War II monument that sits in front of the Coventry Police Department, patriotic bunting and an emblem bearing the number “75” pay tribute to a milestone anniversary that holds a lot of significance for a number of local veterans.

The emblem, Donald Babiec said Monday, stands as an homage to all veterans, but specifically to those who served in World War II.

“It’s just our way of showing locally that we still remember our veterans,” Babiec, of Coventry’s American Legion SPRM Post 81, explained of the impetus behind designing the emblem, which will be placed at the memorial several times over the coming year to recognize the 75th anniversaries of various WWII events. “Everybody that serves should be remembered.”

Babiec worked with Pete Wisnieski, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Coventry Memorial Post 9404, and SPRM Post 81 Commander Corey Bates to establish a list of significant WWII events to be commemorated. 

First posted last month in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the emblem was put out again over the weekend. It hangs today to recognize seven and a half decades since the Second Battle of Guam, when, on July 21, 1944, Americans recaptured the U.S. Territory of Guam from the Japanese.

“That was the first [significant date] that came to mind,” Babiec said. “Then we said, ‘what other dates are really important?’”

The emblem will be posted again in December to mark the 75th anniversary of The Battle of the Bulge; next February to recognize 75 years since the Battle for Iwo Jima; next April to commemorate the Battle for Okinawa; next May to recognize Victory in Europe (VE) Day; and, finally, in September of 2020 to pay homage during the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan (VJ) Day. 

Each time the emblem decorates the memorial it will stay for a week, Babiec said, so that passersby — and, specifically, the aging WWII veterans — can reflect on the significance of the anniversary. 

“Maybe a great grandfather can tell his great grandkids, ‘hey, I fought in that war 75 years ago,’” he said. “We just want the veterans to know that we’re thinking of them.”

Babiec added that it’s important to make efforts locally to keep alive the memories of veterans and to honor their sacrifices, especially since the town no longer hosts a Memorial Day parade.

“We try our best to remember,” he continued. “You don’t want to forget anybody that was involved, and you don’t want to forget those that lost their lives. Lest we forget.”

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