Wareham Veteran's Day celebration set for Nov. 11

Oct 30, 2017

Wareham will celebrate Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11 in front of Town Hall, but the event won’t include a parade this year.

The program will start at 11 a.m. and include several speakers, such as Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham), paying tribute to veterans. Later in the day, at 1 p.m., a dedication ceremony will be held to open the new Lukey Community Park – named in honor of World War II veteran Major Philip Lukey – on Hathaway Street.

Wareham Veterans Council member Bob Powilatis said that in addition to Gifford, the 11 a.m. ceremony will feature remarks from a representative of the Board of Selectmen and Joyce Wagner, the wife of Johannes Wagner, who was heavily involved in veterans’ activities in town. Johannes was instrumental in helping bring the Vietnam Moving Wall to town this summer.

“We’re looking forward to a respectful ceremony,” said Powilatis. “Everything came together well.”

Unfortunately, Powilatis said scheduling conflicts prevented organizers from getting the parade, which has been held on and off over the years, planned in time for Nov. 11. He noted that the annual luncheon for veterans, to be held in the Multi-Service Center immediately following the 11 a.m. ceremony, will go on as usual.

Powilatis urged residents to attend the 1 p.m. dedication ceremony in honor of Lukey, who served with distinction in World War II.

After surviving the Invasion of Normandy, Lukey was captured and taken to a German prisoner of war camp in Belgium. He escaped the camp and returned to the front where he was wounded and then sent back home.

Powilatis said Lukey was active in the town’s American Legion Post for many years and served as its commander in the late 1960s. Lukey lived in the neighborhood where the park is located.

The park, initially called Lukey Playground, was revamped this fall with Community Preservation Act funds. The old play equipment was torn down and replaced. Future plans call for adding a walking trail, exercise equipment and other amenities to create a park for people of all ages.