Norwood has a long history of proud military service, and the town and townspeople have done an excellent job of paying tribute to those veterans.
Located in the center of town is the Norwood Municipal Memorial Building. Also known as the Town Hall, this building stands as a tribute to the veterans of Norwood. It was dedicated ninety years ago today, on November 11, 1928.
Just outside Memorial Hall are plaques with the names of all those Norwood veterans who served from all conflicts and wars up until World War I.
On Veteran’s Day 2002, the town dedicated four more wooden plaques inside Memorial Hall, commemorating the 101 Norwood veterans who died serving in WWI, WWII, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War.
Outside the Town Hall is a cannon captured from German forces in World War I.
On the northwest corner of the Norwood Town Common is a beautiful 20 foot high statue, “Protector’s of the American Way” which pays tribute to all of Norwood’s veterans. Created by Woburn artist Robert Shure, it was made possible by a donation from Norwood resident and veteran of two wars, Frank Simoni. The statue was dedicated in a grand ceremony on September 15, 1991, and depicts our military guarding an American family.
Here is the statue in 2018.
This monument, also located on the Norwood Town Common on Washington street reads:
“Dedicated to the heroic valor and patriotic spirit of the men and women of the town of Norwood who served in the armed forces of the United States of America and all its wars.”
Heading East from the Town Common on Nahatan St, you will pass under the George T. Lee Memorial Bridge.
Col. Lee, a Norwood High graduate, was a fighter pilot in World War II who flew an impressive 258 combat missions in Europe and became the youngest Colonel in the air corps at that time. He died on active duty at the age of 35 in 1954. In 1988, the Bridge was named in his honor.
Aaron Guild Park Area
South on Washington street around a quarter of a mile away from the Town Common in Aaron Guild Park, there are several monuments to Norwood veterans.
This monument was dedicated by the Norfolk County Marine Corps League in 1957 to recognize and salute the service of United States Marines.
The inscription reads
In Memory of
All Marines of Norfolk County
Who Gave Their Lives
For Our Country
This beautiful bench was donated in 2007 by the Norwood high School Class of 1948.
Dedicated to Those
Men and Women who
Served in the Armed Forces
During the Korean Conflict
There’s also a stone marker commemorating the 5 Norwood men who fought in the Siege of Louisbourg in 1745.
Around the corner heading west up Guild street from Aaron Guild Park in front of the Morrill Memorial Library is a stone marker marking the spot where Aaron Guild dropped his plow when he received news of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The story of Aaron Guild making it to Lexington in time to fire upon retreating British soldiers is often repeated in Norwood.
Near This Spot Capt Aaron Guild On April 19, 1775 Left Plow In Furrow, Oxen Standing And Departing For Lexington, Arrived In Time To Fire Upon The Retreating British
The town seal bears an image of Guild and his oxen,and both Guild street and Guild park are named after him.
There are over 4000 veterans buried at Highland Cemetery in Winter Street, mostly in private or family lots. In 1973, the Town of Norwood converted a plot of land in the center of the cemetery adjacent to the cemetery office as a Veteran’s section. Over 170 veterans are buried in this section today.
The annual Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day parades both end near this section every year.
American Legion Post No. 70 dedicated this bronze memorial tablet to Norwood’s WWI soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in 1921. It sits just West of the Veteran’s section.
In Memory Of Their Comrades
Who In The World War on Land and Sea
Fought Valliantly, Suffered, Endured,
Gave All In Service And Gained
Through Death Immortal Life
In 1896, The House of Representatives authorized the Committee on Naval Affairs in Washington to donate a “condemned cannon and 4 pyramids of cannon balls” to George K. Bird Post, No. 169, Grand Army of The Republic to be placed in Highland Cemetery. The monument is dedicated to the South Dedham soldiers who died in the Civil War (1861-1865, a decade before South Dedham became Norwood).
Directly in front of the cannon is a memorial to the unknown dead from that same conflict, donated by the Grand Army of the Republic’s Women’s Corps in 1905.
In the newer area in the rear of the cemetery, at the top of the hill, sits this beautiful tribute to Norwood’s 154 Lithuanian war veterans and the 7 who lost their lives. The monument stood outside St George’s church in South Norwood from 1949, until the church was closed in 2005 when it was moved to Highland Cemetery.
Norwood Memorial Airport
In 1946 the War Department in Washington gave the airport to the Town of Norwood. The facility was officially named the Norwood Memorial Airport, in memory of Norwood residents who lost their lives in World War II, but no formal dedication ceremony was performed until 2003, when Norwood’s Veteran’s Agent Ted Mulvehill rectified the oversight.
Disabled Veteran’s Memorial Park
This triangular park, bounded by Walpole St (Route 1A), Chapel Street and Berwick street, is a memorial for all Norwood’ disabled veterans.
For the past 20 years, plaques have been placed on corners near almost 60 fallen veteran’s homes, to recognize those Norwood residents who bravely gave their lives while serving their country.
Norwood holds parades annually on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July and people turn out in droves to thank them for their service.
We owe an enormous debt to all our veterans, so please take the time to thank them whenever possible.