Monuments and memorial plaques honoring those who served or gave their life defending our country are often placed in battlefields, cemeteries and parks. For the students at Northeast High School, they may pass one every day as they traverse the halls from class to class.
The cast bronze marker, placed on the wall next to Room 208, reads, “Lest We Forget.
Our gratitude to the students and faculty of Northeast High School who so nobly played their parts in the two great dramas for human freedom. 1917-1918, 1941-1945.”
Opening in 1914, the first graduates from Northeast served during what was then referred to as either the “Great War” or the “World War.” The pages of the school’s “Nor’Easter” yearbooks from 1917 and 1918 make many references to their schoolmates far from home, wounded during battle, or not returning home.
Following the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Northeast students once again saw their schoolmates headed off to battle. They participated in war bond and stamp sales, sewing garments for the Red Cross, and other activities to support the troops – which included so many graduates of Northeast.
The school newspaper, “The Northeast Courrier,” featured news of those graduates; where they were stationed, if they were wounded, and if they visited the school while on leave. The front page may have also featured a death notice, such as this one published in 1944: “Lieutenant Andrew Wilson Killed in Air Action. Lieunt. B. Andrew Wilson, ‘38, was killed July 8 in Northern France in a raid over German lines on his sixty-fifth mission. He had previously been reported missing in action. Lieut. Wilson was a bombardier and navigator on a Martin, B-26 Marauder, medium bomber and held the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with eleven Oak Leaf Clusters.”
Students celebrated VE-Day (May 8, 1945) with a special assembly in the school auditorium that featured a student re-enactment of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. While joyous, they understood the battle was not yet over.
The 1946 “Nor’Easter” was dedicated to a 1917 Northeast graduate who served as the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, saying, “In view of his past record and the part he will play in building the America of the future, we, the Nor’Easter Staff of 1946, respectfully dedicate our publication to Major General Maxwell D. Taylor.”
Veterans Day is observed on November 11, which marked the end of the World War in 1918. The observance was renamed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.