On this 103rd Commemoration of Veterans Day

Doug Squeglia

Friday Nov 11th, 2022

As a student of history my adult life, my thoughts today go back 55 years and 358 days before November 11th, 1919, the first observance of Armistice Day or what is now known as Veterans Day.

The day was November 19th, 1863 at the Consecration of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In part of his two-minute address, President Lincoln noted, “But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men and women1, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here”.

And it is that remembrance that we honor and celebrate today.

We are fortunate that there exists a long list of federal, state, local, and private organizations whose missions and objectives are to ensure that we never forget the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have donned the uniform. These associations maintain the physical historical references and features, and preserve the memories of the ‘where’s’ at places like Bemis Heights at the Saratoga National Historical Park, the 83rd Pennsylvania monument at Little Round Top, and the Normandy American Cemetery at Coleville sur Mer overlooking Omaha Beach.

Today, we honor and remember ‘those and what they did’. If you know a veteran, active duty, reservist, or cross paths with one stop and thank them for their service. If you happen by a gravesite with a military marker or American flag flying, stop and extend a moment of silence and prayer. As Presidents Lincoln and Wilson intentioned, it’s the least we can do.

Colonel Orpheus S. Woodward
83rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps
Army of the Potomac, Civil War
Cedarvale Cemetery, Neosho Falls, Kansas
Promoted to Brevet Brigadier General 1865
Specialist 1st Class Helen J. (Walker) LaFever
Hillside Cemetery, Dundee, New York
Lt. Archie W. Thompson
Co A 112th Infantry WWI
Pine Grove Cemetery, Corry
Lt. Harry S. ‘Kwiatkowski’ Katoski
338th Fighter Squadron, “The Hell Hawks”
Brittany American Cemetery
Cpl. Donald George Huyck
Co. I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines Korea
Albion Cemetery
Posthumously awarded the Silver Star
Captain George W. Williams
Squadron Leader, 15th Air Force
Released from POW camp in 1945
Passed away from leukemia in 1947

1st Lt. Kenneth J. Susmarski
1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam
Mount of Olives Cemetery
Tech Sergeant William J. Butler
Medical Detachment, 166th Quartermaster Battalion
Cambridge American Cemetery
Corporal Randy W. Gray
Co C 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Past Commander VFW Post 5958
Past VFW District 28 Commander
Currently resides in Corry, PA
Sergeant Thomas J. Williams
H&S Co 2nd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
Khe Sahn Combat Base, Vietnam 1968
Became an orderly at St. Vincent Hospital post service
Attended Mercyhurst College
Obtained Master’s Degree from SUNY @ Stony Brook
Operations Director of the Heart Institute at Hamot
Retired and residing in Erie
Sergeant Donald S. Oaks Jr.
C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery

Major Joseph A. Stack
Co C 1/189th General Support Aviation Battalion
Medivac Pilot/Aviation Maintenance Mgr.
Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom
Currently employed @ Parker LORD Corp.
Resides in Erie

On this 103rd commemoration of Veterans Day, we honor and thank all the men and women who have made, and continue to make, the selfless commitment to serve these United States, and solemnly remember those that “gave the last full measure of devotion”.

May God bless them, always!


1 – The addition of ‘women’ added by the author