Letter: The day the trumpets played | Opinion
For the publisher:
Pvt. The consecration of Joseph S. Mattos Jr. was only a few days away and the weather was not right as it had rained for days before we all gathered to honor his sacrifice.
Mattos died in action in France on October 5, 1918, a day after his 19th birthday; he had been serving since the age of 16. Pvt. Mattos is known to be the youngest Gloucester man killed in action during World War I. The war ended on November 11, 1918.
In 1935, residents of Ward 2 asked the city council to name the playground in memory of Pvt. Mattos, who grew up on Linnett Place just around the corner from the playground that would bear his name. Our community has come together to honor the young soldier and his family who sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy today.
Mattos Field showed years of lack of maintenance and a rehabilitation was needed. I wrote our first block grant to have the Mattos Field bleachers covered soon after. I asked Jason Burroughs to paint our “Mattos Field” mural which brightened up the bleacher area. Our Light Up Mattos committee was formed and together we wrote four more Community Preservation Act grants and raised funds. We completed our ‘Field of Dreams’ with a revamped infield and outfield, new state-of-the-art LED lights, new safety net and new fence and dashboard. Joseph’s Garden has been planted. We were grateful for the Community Preservation Act money and the many donors who supported our quest for Light Up Mattos. Now we were ready for Pvt. The hundredth birthday of Mattos. The scene was set.
I met Lucia Amero when I walked into the veterans office to ask for help setting up Pvt. Mattos rededication. It was to take place on October 5, 2018, on the 100th anniversary of his death. In his office we have prepared a day of honor for Pvt. Mattos and for his family from near and far. I was proud to have been chosen to honor Pvt. Mattos and everything he and his family had sacrificed along the way. A day to reflect and never forget the privileges that we have today because of their honor and their sacrifice.
The day of his consecration had finally arrived. The flags were placed, the chairs were placed and the podium was raised high. A tree stood freshly planted right in the driveway. I discovered later in the day the significance of this tree as it was dedicated to me.
Pvt. The consecration of Mattos was a day that I will never forget. His family has come from all over, traveling from far and wide to pay homage to their fallen hero. We sang patriotic songs and listened to the praises of city and state leaders. We prayed and listened to Joseph’s family, who honored the platform with pride as their words were spoken. The sky was adorned with a 48-star flag hoisted for Pvt. Mattos. Echo Taps were played as the familiar tunes of trumpets filled the air. It was a glorious day that the trumpets were played.
Please honor Pvt. Mattos on October 5, the anniversary of his death, remembering his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all who serve and have served. I am honored to defend Pvt. Joseph S. Mattos Jr.