NORTH ATTLEBORO — One hundred years after it ended, North Attleboro commemorated the conclusion of World War I Monday with the laying of a wreath and the playing of “Taps” at a memorial downtown.
“The war to end all wars” ended on Nov. 11, 1919 — exactly 100 years ago — so it played a special role in North Attleboro’s annual Veterans Day observance.
The wreath was placed at a WWI monument near town hall as Jordan Scanlon from the high school band played “Taps.”
Earlier, at Community School, speakers remembered those who served in other wars.
State Rep. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, told the story of Deborah Sampson of Massachusetts, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War.
Poirier said Sampson, whose memory was recently honored at the Statehouse, served in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in several battles, including Yorktown, where the British surrendered to George Washington.
She was wounded twice and treated herself in order to keep her gender a secret.
Sampson was finally discharged in 1783 when she fell ill and the doctor discovered she was a woman.
Poirier said legislative leaders are looking for a place at the Statehouse where a statue of her can be put.
Guest speaker Gary Zimmer of North Attleboro, who retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army Reserve, said North Attleboro has a long history of supporting veterans.
He recalled a story about Poirier and others organizing an event for people to sign a quilt that was shipped to troops serving in Afghanistan.
Town Council President Keith Lapointe said he recently heard someone in an airport tell a soldier, “Thank you for your service.”
Lapointe said the remark was so casual it sounded like “pass the ketchup.”
He urged the dozens in attendance to reflect more on what those in the military do for our country and try to thank them with more meaning.
Zimmer said his family signed the quilt and one day his son, who was stationed in Afghanistan, saw it at his base.
He noted that only one half of 1 percent of Americans are currently in military service and only 7 percent are veterans.