Army veteran's widow keeps a dream alive: VFW erects memorial Parkville service is one of several in the area

November 12, 1998|By Amy Oakes and Ernest F. Imhoff | Amy Oakes and Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

For years, John G. "Jack" Scales dreamed of building a memorial at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkville Post 9083 to honor Baltimore County veterans who served in World War II. Before he could realize his dream, the 58-year-old Army veteran who had served in Lebanon was killed in a car accident in August on his way to work.

His wife, Arlene, kept the dream alive, though, and helped unveil a brick-and-mortar memorial yesterday during an emotional Veterans Day service at the post in the 8100 block of Harford Road.

"It was very important to him, and I wanted to carry on his mission," said Scales. "He felt that veterans weren't recognized the way they should be."

The service in Parkville was one of several events in the area yesterday commemorating Veterans Day.

Dundalk VFW Post 6694 held a silent vigil, which was followed by a joint service with an American Legion group at Dundalk Community Park.

Almost 100 veterans of the merchant marine, armed forces, Red Cross and Salvation Army watched a wreath float away in Baltimore Harbor from the Liberty ship S.S. John W. Brown during a shipboard service to honor those who died in the country's wars. Many at the service were World War II veterans who still refer to the annual celebration as Armistice Day (when World War I ended in 1918), a name replaced by Veterans Day after the Korean War.

Louisa Reynolds of Baltimore, a Red Cross canteen worker in Baltimore in the 1940s, was one of a half-dozen wartime Red Cross volunteers who, before the service, fondly remembered their experiences.

"I can't think of anything more wonderful than Red Cross work," Reynolds said. "Everyone is unselfish."

A downpour, which began at 9 p.m. Tuesday and ended at 8 a.m. yesterday, may have slowed commuters, but it didn't alter most of the scheduled events. The National Weather Service reported that before giving way to sunlight, 0.37 inches of rain were recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and 0.28 inches was recorded at the Maryland Science Center, said Kenn Parker of the private forecasting company Weather Central, which is based near Madison, Wis.

"It was raining so hard in the morning that we didn't put out our 13 flags," said Nick Bassetti, who organized Parkville VFW's service. "But I'm glad the day turned out the way it did because we had the chance to go outside for the dedication service."

Walter McDonald, chaplain at Post 6694, said the weather didn't seem to deter people from coming to the service at his Dundalk post in the 6700 block of Pine Ave. or to the ceremony at the park.

"When there's good weather in Dundalk, there's usually a crowd," McDonald said, estimating that more than 100 people attended the service.

Edwin Jasper, 74, said he was happy to see the 300 people -- mostly veterans and members of the post's women's auxiliary -- at the Parkville VFW's annual service. But, he added, it is important that younger generations understand the day's importance.

"I think a lot of people don't realize what the veterans have done for them, saving their freedom, and the sacrifices they made in doing so," said Jasper, who served in the Army during World War II.

Pub Date: 11/12/98

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