Watertown’s veterans organizations came together at the Shutt Detachment on Saturday to celebrate Veterans Day, and the City will likely soon be permanently honoring a Watertown man killed in World War II.
The annual Veterans Day breakfast drew members of the veterans groups in town, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marine Corps League, and the AmVets. Watertown Veterans Services Agent Patrick George noted that people from almost all the branches of the military were represented.
“The only one we don’t have is Space Force and I think they are all still in bootcamp, so we are not going to have any Space Force veterans just yet,” George said.
Holding annual events, like the Veterans Day Breakfast and Memorial Day Parade, are important, George said, because it honors the people who served their country. He referenced a quote from George Washington, who said it is important to honor veterans of previous wars so that people will volunteer to serve in future ones.
“Without the World War II veterans there would not have been the Korean War veterans. Without the Korean War veterans being honored there would not be the Vietnam veterans,” he said. “Without the Vietnam veterans being honored — and I know that took longer than it should have — there would not be the Persian Gulf, there would not be the post-9/11, and that is what ensures there are veterans today like myself to honor the veterans of past wars. It’s what will ensure there are veterans of future wars, hopefully not for a very long time.”
Watertown will likely be permanently honoring another veteran soon. On Tuesday, the City Council will consider creating a Hero Square for a resident killed in World War II while serving in the Army in Italy.
The memorial square for Vincent Ranucci is proposed to be placed at the intersection of Nichols Avenue and Bigelow Avenue, in East Watertown.
“The veteran’s nephew reached out and said (Ranucci) has a surviving sister who still lives in Watertown and asked about doing a memorial square in Watertown,” George said.
When Ranucci enlisted he lived on Nichols Avenue, and his sister was 11 when he was killed, George said.
Watertown has honored many other veterans killed in action from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, but there are still some who have not been honored, George said.
“We do have to have the family ask to start the process,” said George.
The City Council likely refer the proposed memorial square to one of its committees to come up with a recommendation that would be approved by the full Council. George said that he does not anticipate any difficulty getting the square approved because Watertown has a long track record of honoring veterans.
George said he anticipates the square will be dedicated by the spring of 2024. The last memorial square was dedicated to Paul Gorman, a Marine killed in Vietnam in July 2019. The square is located at Main Street and Emerson Road.
The City tries to place memorial squares as close to where the people lived. George said he believes it will mean a lot for his survivors, as well as for future generations.
“It’s going to mean a lot to the family,” George said. “And it means a lot, as I talked about earlier, honoring the veterans of the past is what’s going to ensure that the veterans of the future join the military.”