It was approximately 10 o’clock when Anthony Carlino stood under a sparkling sun in front of the impressive monuments that continue to serve as a mighty memorial for “The Boys from Graniteville Who Went to War” (as many people remember that’s part of a famous local book).
Carlino then delivered a heart-felt greeting that was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and Marie Carlino-Butera and Steven Morra walking side-by-side to perform the annual placing of the red, white and blue wreath and flowers in front of the five monuments.
Those events officially opened the Graniteville Veterans Foundations’ 22nd annual VJ Day Celebration that was also held inside the Johnston Historical Society’s Museum Barn, located next to the park and Fire Station off Putnam Pike.
There were special readings by members Karen Casale and Carlino, a special salute to the World War II Veterans who were KIA (killed in action) presented by Laura Charnley-Panicucci, as well as a Memorial Prayer from Rev. David Butera.
As the program for the star-spangled session read: “Our war monuments and our Graniteville Went to War book are lasting tributes to our Graniteville World War II veterans who served with honor for our country.”
Likewise, the Veterans Foundation also paid special tribute to 10 people — Ralph “June” Bridges, John K. Burros, Walter Charbonneau, Alfred A. Chartier, George Harrington Jr., William Hickey, Raymond J. Heather Jr., James Paterson, Joseph Roy Searle and William Thorpe Jr. — who were killed in action.
The ceremony included two special readings, one by Karen Lee Casale who lives in North Scituate and serves on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and the other by Carlino.
Casale’s spoke about Louis Allien, who served as a combat aviator in the United States Navy between April 2, 1943, to March 11, 1946, and left with the rank of Aviation Radio 2/C.
Allien was assigned to the Martin Marnier PMB 5D Seaplane that could carry 12 to 13 men and had a crew of two pilots, one navigator and radio men and carried bombs and torpedoes. In June of 1944 he was sent to combat duty in the Pacific. His squadron record was 10 ships sank, 32 ships damaged, five submarines sank and three aircraft downed.
He also received a commendation and the Air Medal after, during battle, his crew spotted downed US crewmen in a life raft and the plane made an open sea landing to rescue them. He retired in 1945.
Meanwhile, Carlino then read the famous National Radio Address given by Eleanor Roosevelt back on Dec. 7, 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor. He followed with an important statement: “We are the proud, free and unconquerable people of the United States of America,” which perhaps best summed up yet another historic happening for the Graniteville Veterans Foundation.
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