Published in the November 10, 2015 edition.
WAKEFIELD — They were young men when they went off to fight for their country, sons of Wakefield who were probably in their late teens or early 20s when they answered duty’s call.
Sadly, the boys never made it back home.
Who were these local veterans whose lives were lost serving in wars gone by? What would they have become? What were their interests, their goals, their dreams?
Jay Pinette and many others like him are interesting in knowing.
Pinette led the effort about a year and a half ago to restore the photographs of Wakefield’s veterans who died serving their country. Those photographs for years graced the walls of the auditorium at the old Galvin Middle School and when that building was about to come down to be replaced by the gleaming facility now sitting on Main Street, Pinette took the old photos, stored them and had them restored, cleaned and reframed with the help of Al Pereira of Advanced Photo in North Reading.
The restored photographs now can be seen outside the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the middle school.
Pinette also made sure scans were made of the old photos, which he said he plans to turn over to the Wakefield Historical Society with the hope that someday there will be a searchable database for all local men — and women — who made the Supreme Sacrifice for America. Possibly some Boy Scout may want to meet the challenge as part of an Eagle Scout project, Pinette explained last week.
He said, “You and I both can remember sitting in a Town Meeting when the discussion began to drift and we’d look at the walls of the old Galvin auditorium and wonder, ‘Who were these guys? What was their background? What happened to them?’ I think it’s important for us to know.”
Pinette plans to go public with the next phase of the Veterans Photo Project tomorrow during the Veterans’ Day observances at the Galvin.
He will also announce that he still has many original photographs from the old Galvin auditorium in his cellar and is making them available to family members and relatives.
He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 781-246-5755.
As we use the well-worn but always-relevant “Never Forget” phrase on Veterans’ Day, Jay Pinette continues to turn those words into a mission of eternal remembrance.