Memorial Bridge Honor Rolls
Rumford is a river town and bridges are just part of the infrastructure and the fabric of the town. Memorial Bridge was dedicated in 1930 to commemorate the 26 sons of Rumford that did not return from the World War. The memorial area was expanded a few years ago to include an honor roll listing of those men and those that died from the Civil War through VietNam.
Many of the family names, be they French, English,Scots,or Italian in origin, appear in more than one war time era.That's because supporting the ideals of the nation and protecting it is not a single generation's objective. The need for service is always at hand, even when the world appears to be in relative peace.
During World War II at least three local families gave more than one son or nephew. The Roy family lost three, presumeably cousins. PFC Lionel P Roy, US Army, was killed in the Phillipines. PFC Joseph N Roy, USMC, was killed in action at iwo Jima. I was unable to find information about Norman Roy.
Brothers Alexander R Gallant and William E. Gallant are buried beside each other at the National Cemetery in Hawaii. Each died just a few days after his own 21st birthday. Can you imagine the grief of their parents, not to have seen either of their sons reach the age of majority?
It appears that PFC Theodore O. Gauthier, USMC, died in a training accident in July of '43 in Hawaii and his older brother Tec5 Alfred Gauthier, US Army, was serving with 43rd Signal Company, 43rd Infantry Division, when lost in the Phillipines in January '45. I can't determined if Capt Joseph A Gauthier, US Army. was a sibling or a cousin, but he and Alfred left home with the same National Guard united on February 24, 1941. Joseph was serving with 10th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, when killed in action on 9 Nov 1944 in Luxembourg.
SSgt Charles A Mercier, USAAF, was flying as the ball turret gunner aboard B-17E #42-5145, dubbed "The Gremlin" by its crew. All aboard were killed when the aicraft was shot down on 11 Mar 1944. PFC Richard Mercier, US Army, was fighting with Company C, 339th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division, when he was wounded in action. He died of those wounds on 23 September 1944.
Thousands of Oxford County residents drive by these memorials and over this bridge every day. How many of them know ANY of the names on the honor roll? Ten percent of them? Twenty percent? Lesss than ten percent? I have little doubt that every local area resident knows at least one or two of the surnames listed here, and probably more. But how many of them understand what those familes have given to protect the Republic. How many of the passers by can connect any of these names to a specific action in American History?