Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on Nov. 11, honoring military veterans who served in the United States armed forces.
It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the armistice with Germany went into effect.
The United States previously observed Armistice Day but the U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Over 2,400 names of those veterans from Saugus were engraved on the World War II Monument on the corner of Winter and Central Streets in recognition of their service to our country. Many from Saugus lost their lives in the war and never returned to their hometown.
Dana Lewis, of Lincoln Avenue, Saugus, was the first to volunteer. He had just graduated from Tufts University and took a position at the General Electric Company. After a while at the GE he became concerned about the war. Eventually he decided to visit the Saugus Town Hall, where he signed up to serve in the U.S. Army. The second man to volunteer to join the fight was Arthur DeFranzo.
Warren Lewis, Dana’s father, served on the original committee to erect the World War II Monument in 1946.
Back on the home front, Saugus residents wasted no time mobilizing the town joining together to support the war effort by setting up committees and distributing valuable information throughout the community.
A Saugus Blackout Committee was formed headed by Henry A. Peckman along with Chief Air Raid Warden William H. Robinson. They met in the home of Laurence Davis. Saugus school teachers were given a demonstration on blackout regulations and were to pass them along to their students.
5-5- 5 was the air raid warning signal and once it sounded residents had to follow the blackout
l. Equip a blackout room and have it tested to see that it was truly blacked out;
2. Have no lights visible;
3. Obey any request by a police officer wearing an arm band;
4. Stay off the streets;
5. If driving, pull over, put out lights and find shelter.
Harold P. Rice was appointed the local Red Cross chairman and Saugus was immediately asked to donate $1,500 for war preparedness and civilian defense.
A Tire and Rationing Board was also set up in the Town Hall and “three tires and tubes were allotted to the Public Works for trucks that were tied up because of bad tires.”
In March of 1942, Saugus school children purchased $13,319.78 in defense bonds and since January of 1941 the average amount collected was $1,000 per month.
By the spring in April, 1942, rationing of sugar took effect. Lists were provided and qualified residents were given ration books. Residents over the age of 18 could register for the entire family at their voting precincts. Sugar was the first food to be rationed. The war with Japan cut off U.S. imports from the Philippines, and cargo ships from Hawaii were diverted to military purposes. The nation’s supply of sugar was quickly reduced by more than a third. To prevent hoarding and skyrocketing prices, the Office of Price Administration issued 123 million copies of War Ration Book One, which contained stamps that could be used to purchase sugar. No sugar could legally be bought without stamps, and sugar rationing would continue until supplies returned to normal in 1947.
The purchase of typewriters was frozen by April of 1942 and the recapping of tires required approval from the Recapping Committee.
On July 2, 1942, Gibbs Oil Company collected over 260,000 pounds of rubber for the war effort.
All gas stations in Saugus were designated as collection stops and Gibbs also donated a truck to pick up all the donated rubber.
On Oct. 8, 1942, Mrs. William Snow, of Myrtle Street, donated the gun carried by her great-grandfather in the War of 1812 to the Saugus Salvage Committee. The gun was on display at Braid’s Store as Mr. Braid was co-chairman of the Salvage Committee. Mrs. Snow not only donated the gun but also five brass buttons taken from her ancestor’s uniform to help fulfill the quota of 80 tons of scrap metal in the drive.
Oil rationing began on Oct. 1, 1942 and Vernon W. Evans of the Saugus Public Schools was appointed the chairman. Oil dealers now had to register their business and send forms to their customers listing how much fuel was being purchased legally under the new law.
A house-to- house drive for junk was started in August led by Dennis M. Cronin, co-chairman of the Salvage Committee.
State Theater owner and manager Dick Rubin instituted a scrap metal drive. Any child who brought in 10 pounds of metal or more would be treated to a free show. Among those contributing to the cause was young David Frappier of Lincoln Avenue, who donated a World War I bomb.
It was shortly ordered, once the scrap metal drive was activated, that no one could now purchase nylon stockings. Imagine that …