Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 31, 2012

Memorial Day: Town remembers Andover in War of 1812

By Dustin Luca

Residents filled the Park during the bicentennial of the War of 1812 to remember soldiers lost and honor those living.

The significance of the 200-year anniversary of the first war fought on American soil after the American Revolution was marked with a presentation from Andover High School social studies teacher Brian Carey, who is also in the Navy Reserves.

"We must remember today we're here for Memorial Day, a day to remember those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country," said Carey. "Six groups of veterans hold a special place as our nation pauses to remember the bicentennial of the War of 1812, truly the second American Revolution."

The war gave birth to the Star-Spangled Banner, which uses the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, said Carey.

"He awoke that morning to see the flag raised above Fort McHenry," he said. "Oh say, can you see? He saw our flag."

But there are connections to Andover that residents see daily, according to Carey. After naming a number of batallions and regiments that were raised either by Andover residents or with Andover residents in them, Carey illustrated the significance of the names.

"Poor, Frye, Chandler... Lovejoy, Stevens and Abbot. You may recognize these names as streets in which we travel," said Carey. "They are the names of the men who are memorialized for their service to their nation during the War of 1812."

Three members of the Andover community were awarded Commemorative Global War on Terror Medals at the town's Memorial Day 2012 ceremonies. They are Lance Corporal Scott D. Valler Jr., Marine Corps; Sgt. Lynn E. Spitalere, Army; and Captain Jeffrey W. Arleque, Army.

Andover resident Thomas Busta was recognized at the ceremony as the parade's Grand Marshal. During the ceremony, Veteran Services Director Mike Burke told the story of Busta's involvment in the pacific campaign of World War II, where Busta fought as one of 70,000 Marines on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.

"With 25,000 Marines on eight square miles, Tom didn't anticipate a difficult mission to secure Iwo Jima. History shows us that this was not an easy mission," said Burke. "Tom feels very fortunate and very lucky. From his platoon, only he and one buddy from New York made it through to the end.

"That buddy, Private Walter Oelerich, and Tom stay in touch with each other to this day," continued Burke.