Dartmouth salutes its veterans

Nov 11, 2022

Though skies were gray, Dartmouth’s patriotism was bright as it honored the town’s veterans on Nov. 11 through official action, along with private.

At 11 a.m. outside the Maria Connor Center for Active Living, civilians and veterans gathered for the third annual Veterans Day ceremony near the memorial gazebo.

Like the previous two years, things began with the playing of “Reveille” by the Dartmouth Community Band, followed by the national anthem, sung by Dartmouth High junior Hadley Fitton.

After those songs, Veterans Advisory Board Chair Chris Pereira spoke of the importance of service and sacrifice, something he encouraged officials and parents to teach the children of the town.

“Perhaps have a weekly Medal of Honor Monday where you read the citations of those heroes,” he said.

Pereira did just that, telling the story of Dartmouth recipient Lewis Millett, who served in the Korean Conflict as a captain and commander of Company E of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment for the United States Army.

On Feb. 7, 1951, he personally led his company in an assault on Hill 180 near the city of Anyang bayonet charge. During this operation, Pereira said Millett bayoneted two enemy soldiers and continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement. 

During the fighting, Millett was wounded by a grenade, but refused to be evacuated until the hill was taken.

“That’s a man, that’s a soldier, that’s an American, and that’s a hero,” Pereira said.

Triffin Psyhojon, who served in Korea during the final stages of the conflict, said he was very grateful for Pereira shining a light on an often forgotten aspect of 20th century history.

“A lot of guys didn’t make it,” he said. “The people here don’t really know what went on — I’m here to represent all those guys.”

In addition to the standard ceremony, town officials unveiled a new bench at the Veterans Memorial Grove dedicated to all the Dartmouth women who have served, much to the delight of Patricia Ridzon, who worked in an Army hospital in Japan during the Korean conflict.

“It’s about time,” she said. “Women have not been recognized and there are a lot of us [who served].”

Elsewhere in town, a group of 45 people led by resident and Army veteran Jason Ray took part in a 22 mile ruck — a walk with a pack or other gear — through Dartmouth and Westport to raise awareness and funds for veterans' causes.

According to Ray’s wife Genevieve, the group has raised a little more than $14,000. She said funds will go toward “Wild Hearts Horses for Heroes” based out of West Bridgewater, Clearpath for Veterans based out of Fort Deven, and Mission 22 — a nonprofit which provides treatment programs to veterans for PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other issues, as well as services for victims of military sexual trauma.

The Dartmouth couple also did a clothing drive for the Veterans Association of Bristol County.

“We try to keep things as local as possible,” she said.

Ray said he was very grateful for the turnout for this year’s walk, recalling how when he first began in 2020, it was just him hitting the road.

“It’s a great group of people, they’re all so supportive,'' he said. “And that’s what this is all about — it’s about bringing the community and veterans together and letting veterans know we’re there [for them].”