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Lowell Servicemembers Who Died In Vietnam War

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC

This article originally appeared on this website on November 10, 2022, in recognition of the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. I’m reposting it today in honor of Memorial Day 2024. 

1965

Donald L. Arcand

September 1, 1965 – PFC Donald L. Arcand
19 years old.

Donald L. Arcand was born in Lowell on February 13, 1946. He lived on Ford Street in the Little Canada neighborhood and graduated from St. Joseph’s High School. He worked in a shoe factory until he enlisted in the Army in 1964. Sent to Vietnam, he served as a door gunner on a UH-1B helicopter of the 197th Aviation Company, 145th Aviation Battalion. On September 1, 1965, while escorting a ground convoy near Ben Cat, Arcand’s aircraft was hit by enemy fire and exploded in midair killing all aboard. Arcand’s funeral was held at St. Jean Baptiste Church and he was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

On Memorial Day 1969 (May 25), the new road connecting Father Morrissette Boulevard to Merrimack Street (part of the Northern Canal Urban Renewal Project) was dedicated as Arcand Drive and a monument in his honor was installed in Monument Square alongside the Ladd and Whitney Monument.

Donald Arcand’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 02e, Line 70.

 

1966

William T. Callery

February 22, 1966 – PFC William T. Callery
20 years old

William T. Callery was born in Lowell on August 16, 1945. His family lived at 134 Parker Street. He graduated from Lowell High in 1963 and worked at Hanscom Field in Bedford before joining the Army. He was assigned to Company A, 2/18 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division [see note below] and began his tour in Vietnam on January 19, 1966. Five weeks later, on February 22, 1966, he was killed in action by enemy small arms fire. His funeral was held on March 5, 1966, at St. Margaret’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

On May 22, 1966, the city of Lowell dedicated Highland Park as William T. Callery Park and erected a monument in his memory at the corner of Stevens and B Streets.

William Callery’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 05e, Line 59.

 

[Note about unit names: The primary fighting organization in the US Army in Vietnam was the battalion which contained about 500 soldiers organized into several companies. Through most of the Army’s history, battalions were organized into regiments. By Vietnam, the Army had done away with the regiment as an organization, however, battalions retained their historic regimental affiliation as part of their unit names. So, “2/18 Infantry” was the “2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment” or “2nd of the 18th” even though the 18th Regiment no longer existed.]

 

John J. Carville

May 1, 1966 – SP4 John J. Carville
20 years old

John J. Carville was born in Lowell on June 21, 1945, and lived at 11 Willow Street. He graduated from the Immaculate Conception School and Lowell High School. He enlisted in the Army on June 11, 1964, and was initially assigned to West Germany. He volunteered for Vietnam and arrived there on January 20, 1966, to serve with the 1st Squadron, 45th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed by enemy shell fire on May 1, 1966. His funeral was held on May 10, 1966, at the Immaculate Conception Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

John Carville’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 07e, Line 16.

 

Peter Tsirovasiles

June 2, 1966 – PFC Peter Tsirovasiles
21 years old

Peter Tsirovasiles was born in Lowell on April 10, 1945, and lived at 176 Adams Street. He attended the Hellenic School, the Bartlett Junior High, and graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964. He enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1965 and was trained as a medic. He arrived in Vietnam on January 6, 1966, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1/28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. PFC Tsirovasiles was killed by enemy small arms fire on June 2, 1966, in Thua Thien province. His funeral was held on June 9, 1966, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. He was buried in Westlawn Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated a monument in his memory on the North Common.

Peter Tsirovasiles’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 08e, Line 1.

 

Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr.

July 18, 1966 – CPL Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr.
22 years old

Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr. was born in Lowell on June 15, 1944. His family moved to Chelmsford but Rudy attended the Daley Junior High School in Lowell. In 1965 at age 19, he volunteered for the Marines. After training, he was promoted to Corporal, sent to Vietnam, and was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed by small arms fire on June 15, 1966, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held on July 30, 1966, at St. Mary’s Church in Chelmsford. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Rudolph Lefebvre’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 09e, Line 33.

 

Joseph L. Vallee

July 26, 1966 – PFC Joseph L. Vallee
21 years old

Joseph L. Vallee was born in Lowell on July 20, 1945, and lived at 6 Cedar Street. He attended Lowell schools and graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964. He enlisted in the Marines after graduation and was assigned to Vietnam with Company F, 3rd Battalion, 9th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. On July 26, 1966, Private First Class Vallee was killed by fragmentation wounds in Quang Nam province. His funeral was held on August 12, 1966, at St. Anthony’s Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Joseph L. Vallee’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 09e, Line 79.

 

1967

Paul L. Stewart

February 22, 1967 – SSG Paul L. Stewart
39 years old

Paul L. Stewart was born on June 14, 1927, in Lowell where his father was a student at Lowell Textile Institute. The family soon moved to West Virginia where Paul enlisted in the Army in September 1945. He made the military a career and had a number of overseas assignments before arriving in Vietnam on December 20, 1966, where he was assigned to Company A, 3/21 Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On February 22, 1967, Staff Sergeant Stewart was killed by enemy small arms fire in Quang Nam province. His funeral was held and he was buried on March 2, 1967, in New Franklin, Ohio, where his parents were living.

Paul L. Stewart’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 15e, Line 76.

 

Peter N. Samaras

March 19, 1967 – MAJ Peter N. Samaras
36 years old

Peter N. Samaras was born in Lowell on March 23, 1931. He graduated from Lowell High in 1949 and attended Lowell Technological Institute for two years before enlisting in the Marines in 1953. He was commissioned an officer and trained as a helicopter pilot. By the time he arrived in Vietnam in September 1966, he was married and had six children, all living in Pensacola, Florida. A 13 year veteran of the Marines, Major Samaras was assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron 163. On March 19, 1967, Major Samaras’s helicopter was shot down in Quang Tri province. He died from wounds suffered in the crash. His funeral was held in Florida.

In 1975, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Townsend Ave and Pawtucket Boulevard as Peter N. Samaras Square.

Peter N. Samaras’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 16e, Line 115.

 

Robert F. Bigelow

September 12, 1967 – PFC Robert F. Bigelow
20 years old

Robert F. Bigelow was born in Somerville on August 1, 1947, but moved to Lowell with his family at a young age and lived at 73 Asbury Street. He attended the Butler Junior High and was a member of the Lowell High class of 1966. He was the captain of the LHS basketball team and held a citywide track record for junior high students. He enlisted in the Marines and served with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed by an enemy shell fragment on September 12, 1967, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held at the Sacred Heart Church on September 23, 1967. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Robert Bigelow’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 26e, Line 58.

 

Bruce R. Baxter

November 9, 1967 – MSG Bruce R. Baxter
36 years old

Bruce R. Baxter was born in Boston on September 28, 1931, but grew up in Lowell. At the time of his death, his mother, Mrs. Ellen Baxter, lived at 57 South Highland Street. Master Sergeant Baxter was a member of the 5th Special Forces Group (“Green Berets”). During a secret mission in Laos, he was wounded. An Air Force search and rescue helicopter picked up Baxter and another wounded Green Beret, but the helicopter was hit and burst into flames as it lifted off, killing all aboard. The body of Baxter and the five others who had been in the helicopter were identified but heavy enemy fire and bad weather conditions prevented the body of MSG Baxter and the others from ever being recovered.

Bruce Baxter’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 29e, Line 47.

 

1968

Richard J. Kelley

February 20, 1968 – 1LT Richard J. Kelley
22 years old

Richard J. Kelley was born in Lowell on August 3, 1945. He graduated from Lowell High School where he was a Carney Medalist and then from the College of the Holy Cross. After graduation, he became a Marine officer and arrived in Vietnam on June 27, 1967, where he was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. According to published reports at the time of his death, he drowned while trying to recover enemy weapons from a river in Quang Nam province on February 20, 1968. His funeral was held on March 12, 1968, at St. Michael’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Richard Kelley’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 40e, Line 42.

 

Robert L. Harrison

May 21, 1968 – SP4 Robert L. Harrison
25 years old

Robert L. Harrison was born in Boston but moved to Billerica with his parents at a young age. He graduated from Billerica High School in the class of 1961. He married and then moved to 18 Burns Street in Lowell. He worked at Tynan Electric Company in Billerica until he joined the Army in the summer of 1967. He was trained as a medic and was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. He was wounded in battle in Quang Tri province and died of his wounds at a military hospital in Japan on May 21, 1968. His funeral was held on May 30, 1968, at St. Mary’s Church in Billerica. He was buried in Fox Hill Cemetery in Billerica.

Robert L. Harrison’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 64e, Line 15.

 

Ronald E. Forget

June 8, 1968 – SGT Ronald E. Forget
21 years old

Ronald E. Forget was born in Lowell on June 18, 1947, and grew up at 39 Florida Street. He graduated from Lowell High, married, and worked at Millipore Company in Bedford before joining the Army. He arrived in Vietnam on August 5, 1967, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3/8 Infantry, 4th Infantry Division where he served as a radio operator. He died on June 8, 1968, from multiple fragmentation wounds. His funeral was held on June 19, 1968, at St. Rita’s Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

In 1969, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Butman Road and Hovey Street as Ronald E. Forget Square.

Ronald E. Forget’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 58w, Line 3.

 

Ronald A. Skelton

July 22, 1968 – PFC Ronald A. Skelton
20 years old

Ronald A. Skelton was born in Lowell on June 22, 1948. He lived on South Highland Street, attended the Butler School and Lowell Trade High School. He enlisted in the Marines in the summer of 1967 and was sent to Vietnam where he was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. On May 3, 1968, while on patrol, Private First Class Skelton was severely wounded. He was evacuated and eventually made it to the US Navy Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts, but died from his wounds while a patient there on July 22, 1968. His funeral was held on July 25, 1968, at St. Peter’s Church. He is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Thorndike Street and YMCA Drive as Ronald A. Skelton Square.

Ronald A. Skelton’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 51w, Line 37.

 

Richard C. St. Amand

October 13, 1968 – PFC Richard C. St. Amand
20 years old

Richard C. St. Amand was born in Lowell on June 16, 1948, and lived at 11 Lilley Ave. He worked at Johan Fabrics then joined the Army, and arrived in Vietnam on September 7, 1968. He was assigned to Company B, 2/28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed by enemy small arms fire on October 13, 1968. His funeral was held on October 28, 1968, at St. Louis de France Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Richard C. St. Amand’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 41w, Line 61.

 

1969

Robert W. McCluskey

February 5, 1969 – PFC Robert W. McCluskey
20 years old

Robert W. McCluskey was born in Lowell on August 10, 1948, and lived at 50 Temple Street with his parents. He attended the Bartlett School, Daley Junior High and Lowell High, however, he left school after his junior year and enlisted in the Marines. He was trained as a machine gunner and was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed in action on February 5, 1969, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held on February 21, 1969, at St. Peter’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Robert W. McCluskey’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 33w, Line 66.

 

Walter J. Lemieux

March 9, 1969 – SP4 Walter J. Lemieux
21 years old

Walter J. Lemieux was born in Lowell on September 27, 1947, and lived at 21 Mill Street. He attended the Butler School, the Moody Junior High, and Lowell High School. He joined the Army and was trained as a medic. Specialist Fourth Class Lemieux arrived in Vietnam on December 6, 1968, and was assigned to Company C, 4/21 Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade. He was killed by enemy small arms fire on March 9, 1969, in Quong Ngai province. His funeral was held on March 20, 1969, at St. Anthony’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In 1998, the city of Lowell dedicated a park on Mill Street in the Back Central neighborhood as Walter J. Lemieux Park.

Walter J. Lemieux’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 30w, Line 90.

 

Peter J. Bouchard

March 28, 1969 – SGT Peter J. Bouchard
22 years old

Peter J. Bouchard was born in Lowell on September 21, 1946. He grew up with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Bouchard, at 124 Lilley Ave. He graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964, married, and moved to Lawrence with his wife. He joined the Army in August 1968 and was stationed in Vietnam with Headquarters Company, 3/6 Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Sergeant Bouchard was killed in an accident on March 28, 1969, in Kien Hoa province. His funeral was held on April 7, 1969, at St. Michael’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Peter Bouchard’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 28w, Line 65.

 

1970

William J. Hodge

February 28, 1970 – SSG William J. Hodge
22 years old

William J. Hodge was born in Lowell on April 2, 1947, and grew up on Butterfield Street with his family. After graduating from Lowell High, he married and moved to School Street until he enlisted in the Army. Staff Sergeant Hodge arrived in Vietnam on September 24, 1969, and served with Company B, 1/16 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed in action while serving as a platoon sergeant on February 28, 1970. His funeral was held on March 13, 1970, at St. Patrick’s Church. We was buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Carlisle and Gorham Streets as William Hodge Square.

William J. Hodge’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 13w, Line 68.

 

John Scott Keenan

April 22, 1970 – CWO John Scott Keenan
21 years old

John Scott Keenan was born in Lowell on November 17, 1948, and lived with his grandparents at 104 Viola Street. He graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1966 and then attended Northern Essex Community College. He married, had two children, and worked until joining the Army in January 1969. He was trained as a helicopter pilot and achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He arrived in Vietnam on March 18, 1970, and served as a pilot in the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. His helicopter was shot down on April 22, 1970, and he died in the crash. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In 1970, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Chelmsford and Stevens Street as John Scott Keenan Square. In 2020, with the concurrence of his family, the city relocated the square to the intersection of Stevens and Viola Streets.

John Scott Keenan’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 11w, Line 36.

 

1971

Robert J. LaFlamme

January 13, 1971 – SFC Robert J. LaFlamme
39 years old

Robert LaFlamme was born in Lowell on June 24, 1931. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army and made the military a career. He was married with three sons when he was assigned to Vietnam. He arrived there on November 2, 1970, as a Sergeant First Class and was assigned to the 160th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade. SFC LaFlamme died of a heart attack on January 13, 1971. His funeral was held on January 22, 1971, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Chelmsford. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Robert J. LaFlamme’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 05w, Line 42.

 

City of Lowell monument to those who died in Vietnam. On grounds of Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

Pet Soundings

Pet Soundings

A Music Essay by David Daniel

Let me confess right up front. When the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album dropped fifty-eight years ago this month I was one of the naysayers.

In the early and mid-1960s you bought albums (such an exotic concept today!) based upon the appeal of singles that duked it out for position on AM radio playlists. In greater Boston that meant WMEX for rock ‘n’ roll, and for R&B there was WILD. FM stations—where the show “hosts” (not “DJs”) would speak in intimate tones and spin longer cuts and even entire album sides—were still a couple years away.

The initial single from Pet Sounds, “Caroline, No,” released several months ahead of the album, failed to strike sparks, prompting Capitol Records execs to worry. To their corporate ears (and checkbooks) the album was more a Brian Wilson solo venture, not extracted from the rich vein of SoCal ore the band had up till then mined with stunning success. Short of deep-sixing the entire LP project they rushed out as a second single, “Sloop John B,” which caught a bit of the old magic, reaching #3 on the Billboard charts, and the album followed.

I remember standing at the record racks in TV & stereo department of Gilchrist’s in Quincy, holding Pet Sounds. Decisions that involved spending the $2.99 on the $1.25-an-hour pay of a burger flipper required sober reflection. I considered the song listing—“That’s Not Me,” “I Know There’s an Answer,” “Here Today.” Nothing jumped out at me. True, “Sloop” was a good singalong on the travel bus to away basketball games, but it was a retool of a traditional song, not an original. And that photograph on the album sleeve. No surfboards, no street rods, no wahines in bikinis. Where were the bros in baggies and bleached hair? Instead you had five guys in cardigans, wearing “are-you-sure-these-things-won’t-bite?” expressions as they fed goats in a petting zoo. If this was supposed to lure the legions of fans living in Dubuque and Altoona and Syracuse looking to conjure a California vibe and hungry for the promise of fun, fun, fun, it was a bust. For me, the album had missed its moment. I left my wallet in my pocket.

Turns out I wasn’t alone. By 1966 the Beach Boys had enjoyed amazing success and stood second only to the Beatles in record sales (which may be news to Slim Whitman and Harmonica Willy fans); however, unlike their earlier LPs, Pet Sounds’ reviews were mixed and sales were off. Maybe, as music journalist Johnny Morgan opined, fans “wanted to dance, not sit in the dark listening to bicycle bells and dog barks.” So, yeah, no . . . I wasn’t an early adopter of Pet Sounds, and like something glimpsed in the rearview it faded from my life.

It didn’t reappear until several decades later, after I’d been to college, served in the army, had a writing and teaching career. I came upon a used copy (I still had a turntable), bought it and really listened for the first time. Among the heroes and villains on the disc there were none of the rock-steady teenage dudes of “I Get Around” and “Be True to Your School.” There was no curl-shooting hodad ready to spirit away pretty girl in his woodie; no gearhead revving hell out of his badass 409. In short, the album offered no manifestations of teenage cool that, back in the day, in my own lack of same, I had been expecting.

The characters of Pet Sounds are older, loners past the hormonal wash of adolescence and now vulnerable and uncertain about their lives. These are seekers in an uncertain world. Beach life, hot cars, burger stands, surfboards? Get real, man. Even the up-tempo songs have a plaintive note. So what changed? Where did this music come from?

Anyone who has seen Love & Mercy or read any of the countless articles and books about “America’s Band” will have some idea. Brian, his mind long tweaked by father issues, acid trips (an experience he described as “spiritual”), and the demands of his own ambition and early success, finally cracks. From 1962 to ’65 the Beach Boys had been delivering three albums a year, much of the load falling on him. Now he abandons touring to concentrate on writing and producing. Bands in those days often were more performing seals than creative artists. Albums were a mishmash of unconnected songs bundled around a hit single or two. Even for the Beatles it wasn’t until Rubber Soul (’65), and for Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (’65), that the notion of “concept,” or album as art, took form. In the Beach Boys’ case it was Pet Sounds.

From his earliest music, Brian Wilson’s world was a reverse telescoping: California > my family > my town and school > my room . . . experiences he managed to universalize for listeners. With Pet Sounds the inward gazing achieves its apotheosis. While there’s never mention of larger externals—political assassinations, civil rights fights, war in Vietnam (leave all that to Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Marvin Gaye)—Wilson’s self-contained realm is not a peaceful one. The ground for the new work was already there in embryo in songs of adolescent introspection like “In My Room” (’63) and “When I Grow Up to be a Man” (’64), and expanded later in songs like “Til I Die” (’71) and “Sail On, Sailor” (’72), but here was an entire LP about isolation and loneliness, of feeling cut off, (“my friends when I told them said that’s not me…”), of a guy’s willingness to take it on the chin for his failings as a romantic partner. Pet Sounds plays like a threat assessment of the encroachment of GROWING UP.

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is an annunciatory opener—but dealing with getting married!? “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” is a fine slow-dancer, but gone is the wistful ingenuousness of earlier songs (like “All Summer Long”—“Remember when you spilled coke all over your blouse…”: was there ever a more high-minded line? That belongs in the dictionary under Songs of Innocence, alongside the Everly Brothers’ “Only trouble is, gee whiz … I’m dreaming my life away”).

On Pet Sounds even a tender ballad like “Caroline, No” is an aching meditation on mutability and time. This ain’t the little (surfer) girl we once knew. “Who took that look away?/ I remember how you used to say / You’d never change, but that’s not true.” And the “change” theme continues on “Here Today” (i.e. gone tomorrow) and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” Wilson later revealed that he did most of the singing on Pet Sounds because he needed to directly voice how he felt inside. And on two songs—“Let’s Go Away for A While” and the album’s title track—the music is so expressive no lyrics are needed.

The Beach Boys band members were ever only adequate musicians, never virtuosos. The virtuosity came in the form of Wilson’s writing, arrangements, and production. The sophisticated orchestrations and layering of voices, which elevate even the sometimes-anodyne lyrics, seem to rise from his hearing them in his head (possibly an ironic benefit of his being partly deaf in one ear?). While the band was on a world tour, Brian was at work at home, so aside from their singing, the others are largely absent on Pet Sounds, their instrumental duties having been handled by the top-tier session pros.

With adolescence and young adulthood such a locus for his music, it’s fair to wonder if Brian Wilson’s imagination ever got out of high school (I’m pretty sure mine never did). At the point of developing Pet Sounds, when he’d have been 23 (an age when John Keats was writing some of his finest poems), did Brian reckon himself at a crossroads? Attend to his own inner pulse or go on fulfilling the demands of fans who (like me) expected the old familiar. In this regard I was little different than Mike Love whose initial reaction to the album was supposedly, “Don’t fuck with the formula, Brian!”

But 1966 was a good year for fucking with formulas. Along with Pet Sounds (in May) there was Sounds of Silence (Jan.), Blonde on Blonde (Feb.), Aftermath (June), Revolver (Aug.) and Buffalo Springfield (Oct.), each in its own way revolutionary. Where Pet Sounds was a marked departure from the Beach Boys’ fare I was so connected to, is in thematics, orchestrations, harmonics, and technical innovations. It’s in the oddball choices, like the use in “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” of the theremin, an electronic instrument associated with scary movies (and which would shortly gain monster prominence on “Good Vibrations”). With the album’s layering of voices, ethereal instrumentation, tempo changes, choral effects there are times when it seems as if the music is going to collapse into cacophony, but it doesn’t. Wilson is in masterful control and the record is a sonic feast (great to enjoy with headphones).

Brian Wilson’s experiences with drugs and alcohol wouldn’t always be “spiritual”—would at times spiral out of control. And there was his mental illness. Pet Sounds would be (in this listener’s revised view) the band’s high-water mark. There were some popular and critically-hailed albums to come—the post-modern Surf’s Up (’71); and Endless Summer (’74), a two-platter serving of nostalgia—but the long-promised (and catastrophe-stalked) “teen symphony” Smile when it finally came, forty years late, was a head-scratcher that fell far short of its hype. By then brothers Dennis and Carl were gone, and the Beach Boys had settled into autoplay as a durable nostalgia machine. The “America’s Band” moniker—like being inducted into the R&R Hall of fame—was a gorgon’s kiss.

Maybe it was true as Brian had sung on Pet Sounds, he “just wasn’t made for these times.” In January of this year he lost his devoted wife Melinda; and the current news tells us he is now under guardianship as his dementia has worsened.

Enough. These are just one fan’s notes and oversimplified opinions. God only knows that musically I’m a slow study. It was years, for example, before I learned that Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar,” was born Richard Anthony Monsour and grew up in the Lebanese section of Quincy Point, a mile from my home turf. But then, I didn’t need to know that, because aside from some noodling by Carl (like on “Miserlou,” an old Eastern Mediterranean folksong popularized in the U.S. by Dale) the Beach Boys were never really a surf band anyhow. Their musical inspiration was—go figure—the Four Freshmen.

Looking back across nearly six decades I think wouldn’t it be nice if my first reaction wasn’t to shy back from Pet Sounds but instead to embrace it. But I didn’t. I wasn’t looking for depth, I wanted sensation, a beat, the known. Ensnared in my own small world, I considered the album out of its time, when instead it is timeless.

 

LT Lorne Cupples and Cupples Square

Lorne Cupples was born in Canada to Simone and James Cupples and immigrated to the United States in 1886 when he was a child. He lived on Grove Street and married Lilla Simpson in June of 1905. Lilla sadly passed away in childbirth with the infant in March of 1907. Cupples married a second wife, Marion Corner in August of 1908. Active in the community he was a congregant of Saint John’s Episcopal Church and a member of the Ancient York lodge of Masons. Before joining the service, Cupples was the Superintendent of the Whitall Manufacturing Company in the Acre.

After the entry of the United States into World War I, Cupples entered Officer’s Training in August of 1917 and was commissioned a Captain in November of the same year. His enthusiasm to see action propelled him to take a reduced rank of Second Lieutenant so that he could go overseas and join the fight against the Central Powers. Cupples was assigned to the ordnance department of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion of the 26th Infantry Division.

Taking part in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in the Fall of 1918, Cupples received severe wounds to his stomach during the offensive. He died of his wounds on November 4, 1918 just a week before the Armistice that ended the war and was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France. It was written at the time, “While he died the noblest of death of all, his many friends will be grieved to hear that he has crossed the great divide.” Cupples Square was originally dedicated in his honor in October 1923 under the direction of Mayor John J. Donovan and the American Legion Post 87.

The neighborhood shopping district in the Highlands formed by the intersection of Pine and Westford Streets known as Cupples Square was dedicated to Lorne Cupples in October 1923 and was rededicated in 2016.

Honoring Our Departed

Honoring our Departed – (PIP #32)

                                     By Louise Peloquin                                                      

     For over a century, Lowellians have gathered at Saint Joseph Cemetery, established in 1894 at 96 Riverneck Road Chelmsford, to remember their beloved departed and to pay homage to their military heroes.

The tradition lives on. A tent will be set up this May 27th for an open-air Memorial Day Mass at 10:00. All are invited to attend.

*********

L’Etoile, October 22, 1917

Beautiful Ceremonies at Saint Joseph Cemetery

The Pilgrimage at Saint Joseph Cemetery 

From 6,000 to 10,000 people visited the field of death – Military parade, Libéras (1),

 Superb sermon by Reverend Father Bachand, O.M.I.

——-

     The annual pilgrimage to Saint Joseph’s Cemetery, under the auspices of the C.M.A.C.(2), took place with unprecedented success yesterday afternoon. From six to ten thousand people went to the cemetery to give a testimony of esteem to their dear departed and to pray for the repose of their souls. This most uplifting display deeply impressed all who were present.

VERY FAVORABLE WEATHER

     Ideal weather favored the pilgrimage and all the Franco-American parishes of the city participated in this imposing ceremony.

FORMATION OF RANKS

     The ranks were formed at 1 P.M. in the Catholic Association rooms. The Lowell Military Band, directed by Oswald Theo Bamber, preceded the procession. 

     The following companies were in the ranks:

     National Guard Company 100, Albert Bergeron and First Lieutenant Alphonse Naterand, 10 men. We noticed Joseph L. Lamoureux of the Franco-American Volunteer Brigade, his son Emile J. Lamoureux, Company K Westfield camp trumpeter, his other son Arthur D. Lamoureux, major of the Guardian Angel Guard and soldier Pierre Beauchène also from Company K Westfield.

     The Sacred Heart Guards of Notre Dame de Lourdes parish, 25 men under the orders of First Lieutenant Henri Guérin.

     Boy Scout Troop 26 of Notre Dame de Lourdes parish, Edouard Malo, commander and Roméo Lozeau, trumpeter.

     The Guardian Angel Company, Saint Joseph parish, under the orders of Captain Alfred Tardif and all of Company B under the orders of Captain Arthur Lemay. These two companies were commanded by Major Achile Bellefeuille.

     The Saint Louis Guard of Saint Louis parish, under the orders of Edouard Ganache.

     The Zouaves (3) of Saint Louis parish, Captain Raoul Gallant.

     The C.M.A.C. Honor Guard, Captain Nelson Phillips.

     The Catholic Association, 200 men, commanded by Mr. Raoul Pelletier.

     At the place of honor, following the different ranks, we noticed Reverend Father Superior Eugène Turcotte, O.M.I., C.M.A.C. chaplain; Reverend Father Joseph Denis, O.M.I., of Notre Dame de Lourdes parish; J.A. Fortier, C.M.A.C. president; Napoléon Lozeau, finance secretary and Thomas Bérubé, secretary-archivist.

     The C.M.A.C. members held flags – Mr. Alfred Beauchesne the American flag, Mr. Joseph Boutin, the French flag and Mr. Joseph Larose the Sacred Heart Carillon flag.

     Mr. Isidore Trudel was the commander general of the parade.

   SERVICE AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH

       Participants then went to Saint Joseph church on Lee Street which had been completely draped in black for the circumstance. Reverend Father Turcotte officiated at the service. The choir was directed by Mr. Télésphore Malo with Miss Lena B. Camré accompanying at the organ. At the exit of the church, the military band played Atkinson’s “Sorrow’s Dream.” 

AT SAINT JOSEPH CEMETERY

     People took tramways to get to the cemetery. Upon arrival, the band played Chopin’s funeral march.

     The religious exercises took place near the grave where repose the remains of many Oblate Fathers.

     Reverend Father Louis Bachand, O.M.I., eloquently pronounced a special sermon for the occasion. Many people broke down in tears.

 REV. FATHER BACHAND’S SERMON

     Here is a summary:

     “All peoples venerate the place where the remains of the departed are placed because it is a universal belief that death is not the end but is rather the entrance into eternal life. Catholics believe that the dust contained in the tombs is a temple that God will revive on the last day. There lies the obligation to visit cemeteries in order to pray over the graves of our dear deceased.

     Everywhere around us there are coffins, tombs which contain the remains of a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a wife or a husband, of people who were dear to us. We can cry over these tombs but our tears are full of hope. The Cross, on which Our Savior shed His precious blood in atonement for our sins, overcame our tombs and guaranteed delivery from death and eternal life in paradise.”

    After the sermon, Reverend Father Turcotte and the whole choir sang hymns echoing the message of the sermon.

     THE SALUTE TO THE DECEASED

     A squadron, lead by Captain Nelson Phillips, proceeded to a gun salute firing three shots near Reverend Father A.-M. Garin’s (4) grave. The band then played Taps followed by a funeral march. (5)

****

  1. “Libéra,” from the Latin “liberate” meaning “to deliver,” is the first word of the prayer sung by the priest at a burial service.
  2. The Corporation of the Members of the Catholic Association, was founded in 1878. By 1900, the C.M.A.C., housed in a spacious building on Pawtucket Street, facing Merrimack Street, became the most important Franco-American benevolent society in Lowell as well as a center for social and political life.
  3. A “Zouave” is a member of a French infantry unit originally composed of Algerians wearing a colorful uniform. Also refers to a member of a military unit adopting the Zouave dress. Perhaps the best-known Zouave is the statue at the Alma Bridge in Paris.
  4. Reverend Father André-Marie Garin, O.M.I. (1822-1895) was at the origin of the Oblates establishing in Lowell in 1868 and was responsible for building the churches of the Immaculate Conception, Saint Joseph and Saint-Jean-Baptiste. A biography on the link: https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/garin-andre-marie/
  5. Translation by Louise Peloquin.

 

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