Former POW returns to depot for Veterans Day

November 12, 1998

Dr. TonoloBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - As old soldiers, sailors and airmen paraded past him Wednesday, Fred Bucci spoke of his son, Michael.

"When it's you it doesn't seem so bad. I guess you feel a little bit different when its your son," said Bucci, whose Army career began during the Vietnam War and ended with the Persian Gulf War.

Eighty years after what President Woodrow Wilson called the "war to end all wars," the Chambersburg man said his son, a 1993 graduate of Chambersburg High School, is a cavalry scout with the 24th Infantry Division in Kuwait.

"We're worried about him. He's been stationed there since August," said Bucci, who works at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.


In a Veterans Day speech, President Clinton warned of possible military action against Iraq for Saddam Hussein's suspension of arms inspections. Seven years after Desert Storm, it is a second generation conflict for his family.

In Chambersburg and small towns across the region, the observances were sometimes smaller than in years past, but the meaning no less heartfelt to the participants.

"I like to wave the flag. I'm patriotic," Wilma Horn of Chambersburg said. She was once a nurse in the National Guard "and my daughter served in the Gulf War in Israel with the Patriot crews."

"When I'm out here I feel I'm honoring her and her husband, who is still in the military," Horn said.

In Chambersburg there were nearly as many parade participants as watchers. A few hundred people gathered around Memorial Square for the ceremonies.

"Every year it seems to get a bit smaller ... It is a work day though for many people," said Paul Ambrose of Chambersburg.

Franklin County Judge Richard J. Walsh, a U.S. Navy veteran, began his speech as the courthouse clock chimed 11 a.m., the traditional time for Veterans Day ceremonies dating back to World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

"Look around you. Life goes on. ... People treat today like yesterday and like tomorrow. They can do that because those who have served have preserved the peace," Walsh said.

In Harpers Ferry, W.Va., about 350 people gathered at the Veterans Memorial at the junior high school, according to Jack Albertson, a retired Army officer and member of the Harpers Ferry/Bolivar District Veterans Association.

"This year, for the first time, we had more kids than veterans, but we're pleased about that," he said. Flag waving children as young as 3 marched in the parade.

Donald Campbell, superintendent of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, reminded spectators that the Park Service is guardian to the nation's most hallowed ground.

From Gettysburg to the USS Arizona, a monument and grave to hundreds of sailors, Campbell said the service is a custodian of the nation's military history.

The war memorial at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., was located in a busy intersection. This year the memorial to the students and faculty who died in the nation's wars was moved to the Frank Cultural Arts Center, according to Jim Watson, the vice president for college advancement.

About 80 people gathered for the rededication ceremony, which was punctuated with a flyover by a C-130 Hercules from the 167th Airlift Wing.

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