By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Dec. 26, 2017 | 1:20 p.m.
WAKEFIELD – Ralph Seeley, who was on hand at the Wakefield Christmas Tree Lighting with copies of the Wakefield Historical Association’s recently published book, took a few moments from answering questions of local shoppers to talk about the history of the book and the town’s rich veterans heritage.
“Several of us have been interested for quite awhile in the history of Wakefield and we realized people were throwing away in dumpsters things that were of historic value to the area,” Seeley explained. “So we collected photos and stories from family members of all the Wakefield-associated veterans we could find, and one of the results is this book, WAKEFIELD – Some of our Veterans and their Stories. There’s a story about twenty of the veterans – about what they went through. One was shot down in a bomber over Germany and was a POW for 13 months. A couple were in the Battle of the Bulge. Several were with the DDay invasion. And Chapter 20 is about the only still-living veteran in the book, who was a part of the Vietnam War.”
Another notable result of efforts by the group is a set of very large three-ring binders containing compiled information about more than 300 local veterans through the years.
“People were disappointed because we were only open one day (for the Foundation Day Celebration Display),” Seeley said. “So the binders are now on display during work hours at The Town of Wakefield so folks can go in and sit as long as they like and enjoy them.”
The Association’s binders, compiled by member Thomas Huber, contain a photograph where possible and a short synopsis of the military history of each of the local veterans included, Seeley said. He added that the Association is always looking for additions, as this is an ongoing project.
“We just started this year – there are eight of us now,” he said, “and we feel pretty good to have all these binders and to already have this professionally published book. Most of the people who have bought them so far were kin or knew of family members who were in the books, but I think they’d make a nice Christmas gift for anyone interested in the military or local history.”
Seeley said that WAKEFIELD, Some of our Veterans and Their Stories, is still available at the Virginia Diner, Kids Korner and Ivor furniture, and added that association members will continue to update the binders for the ongoing project as more information comes in. Anyone with questions or additions may call 757/899-5591 or 757/899-6451.
“I only regret was that we didn’t have longer to do it,” Seeley said of the book. “But we’re already planning a follow-up volume for 2018.”