Osco church dedicates veterans' plaque on Fourth of July

Mindy Carls
Osco Community Church

On Sunday, July 4, Osco Community Church dedicated a memorial to men and women who have served in the military.

The dedication was part of Praise in the Park, a worship service Sunday morning in Hand Park, Cambridge.

The veterans’ memorial is a 4-foot by 3-foot shadow box containing a U.S. Marine Corps sword and sheath, a worn U.S. flag and the names of men and women with Osco church ties who have donned the uniforms of the U.S. armed forces, according to Tom Fleming. All will be displayed on a black background.

The shadow box will installed on a wall in the new wing of the church, he said.

“About a year ago this time, I got an e-mail sent to me,” Fleming said. “From whom, I don’t even remember.”

The message was the first of many describing the exploits of American military personnel from World War II through Korea and Vietnam to the Southwest Asian conflicts.

These e-mails stressed the importance of remembering the heroism of veterans, and the sacrifices they and their families make during wartime and even afterwards.

“It suddenly occurred to me Osco church had not done anything permanent to remember veterans,” Fleming said. “I started to talk to the church council about developing one.”

He started asking around to see who from the church had served in the military. He expected to collect 20 or 30 names, but the number grew to 91.

A friend of Fleming’s had served in the Marine Corps during the 1970s.

“When he found out what I was doing, he sent me his Marine Corps sword, so we are incorporating that,” Fleming said.

One day, Fleming was driving by a place where people were taking down a worn flag. He asked if he could have it for the memorial, and the people said yes.

“It’s tattered, it’s sun-faded,” he said. In his eyes, that makes it appropriate for the memorial.

“It served, they served,” Fleming said.

One of the names on the memorial is Kenneth Mosslander, son of Myrtle Vinstrand, who attended Osco church.

Mosslander was killed in action during the Korean War.

Another name is Bob Watters. He served in the Navy during World War II. He was aboard a ship off Iwo Jima during the battle for the island, and he witnessed the Marine Corps flag going up to signal victory.

Three women are listed on the plaque. Doris Nylander Tallmadge served as a flight nurse in 1942. Kathleen Barham was in the Army during the 1960s, and Kristy Hutchison was in the National Guard during the 1990s.

Fleming thinks of the memorial as “a way of saying thank you and paying honor and recognition to those who served.”

Some, he noted, have never been thanked before.