Remembering the Past: Memorial Day Memories

by Diane Norek Harrison

SOUTH AMBOY-I do not have the exact year of this information, but it is from the early to mid 1950s since my references show that is when Thorvald Olsen was Mayor of South Amboy,


What was undoubtedly the biggest Memorial Day Parade ever staged in the history of the city, took place here Friday afternoon under the direction of John Connors Chapter of the Disabled Veterans, who were assisted by other local veteran groups. At the conclusion of the parade, a demonstration of antiaircraft battery operation was given by a detail of Battery “B’ of the 12th A.A.A. from Fort Hancock, under the command of Captain Francis G. Quigley.

Mayor Olsen was the principal speaker at the exercise held on the City Hall lawn on John St following the parade, when a memorial fountain was dedicated. Olsen urged constructive efforts for a closer unification of the nation to further its role of world leadership.

The members of the D.A.V. Chapter were in charge of the dedication of the memorial and the wreath placed upon it by Mrs. Connors, mother of the deceased veteran after whom the post is named.

Joseph F. Burke of Jersey City, Past Department Commander of the D.A.V., who was the parade grand marshal, made the welcoming address, and remarks were also made by Councilman Joseph Charmello, chairman of the building and grounds committee who aided the veterans in the securing of the memorial. Another speaker was John Widiczky, Past Commander of the D.A.V.

The invocation was by Rev. Wilbur N. Pike, of the First Methodist Church, and a veteran of both World Wars, and the prayer and benediction were delivered by curates of St. Mary’s Church. The National Anthem was sung by Helen Spina, accompanied by Gail Wisnieski.

Before the parade, the annual inspection of the members of the police department was conducted by Mayor Olsen and Councilman Robert McGowan, Chairman of the Council Police Committee.

PERTH AMBOY-I don’t usually repeat information in a column, but I was asked to by Robert Purdue: “Dear Ms. Harrison, I found your story: “Perth Amboy: A Memorial Day Column….” in your May 25, 2007 Atom Tabloid column, when I searched the internet for “Michalis Tsirmulas.” He was a member of Operations Group II of the OSS, 22 men, some Greek-Americans, others Greek immigrants (who would later become citizens because of their military service) who fought behind the lines in Greece in 1944. (One member of the group, of Irish descent, was an exception to the rule.) Their mission was to disrupt the German evacuation of Greece by attacks on road and railway traffic between Athens and Thessalonika.

Their leader was Lt John Giannaris, from Chicago, who was very badly wounded during one operation and survived only when a heroic English Flight Officer flew in a small aircraft and carried him to a hospital in Italy Giannaris subsequently, many years later, recommended that each member of the group receive the Bronze Star Medal and the Defense Department agreed. Giannaris is now holding all but one of these medals and I am trying to help him by locating surviving member of the group or their next-of-kin.

Michalis Tsirmulas, Tech. 5, serial number 337 24 908. He was killed in action. The only information I have about him is the item I found via an internet search; he was from Perth Amboy.”

If anyone has family information on Mr. Tsirmulas, please contact me so I can forward the information to Mr. Purdue.

Have memories or past material for any holiday? Would all be used at the appropriate time of the year!

If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media P.O. Box. 1061 Rahway, N.J. 07065.

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