The registry of deeds will be closed tomorrow in honor of Veterans Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, this holiday was originally proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War One which occurred when the Armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938 and in 1954 changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day to commemorate all veterans of the US military.
Because America’s involvement in World War One occurred at the end of that conflict, we often neglect the sacrifice made by our neighbors here in Lowell. According to a November 11, 1921 article in the Lowell Sun, 171 men from Lowell perished in the war. Surprisingly, almost half the deaths were from pneumonia (which was a complication of the influenza empidemic that gripped the world at the time). But many from Lowell died in action and they are memorialized around the city. Here’s a sampling: Kearney Square in downtown is named for Lt Paul Kearney who was killed in action in France on October 3, 1918; Cupples Square in the Highlands was named for Lt Lorne Cupples who died of wounds in France in October 1918; and Gallagher Square, just up Gorham Street from the registry of deeds was named for Pvt William Gallagher who died of wounds in France on October 7, 1918.
So as you make your way around Lowell or other area communities tomorrow and in the days to come, please take a moment to remember those who gave their lives in the service of our country.