American Legion rededicates World War I monument12/06/2022 12:20AM ● By Steven Hoffman
The Kennett Square American Legion Post 491 marked Veterans Day with the rededication of the William Fahey WWI Memorial post at the Mary D Lang Kindergarten Center.
On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 12, the day after the formal Veteran’s Day holiday, the members gathered at the corner where that white, granite post has sat for years. It was bitter cold, and the guests numbered about 20.
Post Commander Cindy Abbondi presided and told the audience seated in front of her on Center Street, “We are here to rededicate our World War I memorial and honor memory and bravery of our local heroes.”
She called upon former Kennett Square Mayor Leon Spencer to sing “God Bless America,” and then introduced speaker Ed Fahey.
Fahey, 94, of Jenner’s Pond, and formerly of Kennett Square, grew up in the borough, having attended St. Patrick School and Kennett High School Class of 1946. He went on to graduate from University of Delaware with a degree in engineering. Among other milestones in his life, things had been a president of the Kennett School Board.
Post Vice Commander Bill Taylor said – and Ed Fahey himself admitted – that Ed had been chosen to speak not because he was a documented descendent of William Fahey, but because he had the same last name. It was unclear to the speaker himself whether he was related to the veteran named on the memorial.
Ed Fahey said, however, that William Fahey had been a friend of his father.
“My dad called him ‘Billy.’ They were friends and he spoke highly of him. … When William went off to fight in World War I in 1918, he said, ‘Good bye Kennett Square. You’ll never see this Irish man again.” Ed Fahey said.
William Fahey died of injuries suffered in the war, but after his body was returned to Kennett Square it has carried to his grave at St. Pat’s Cemetery in a coach drawn by four white horses.
Taylor recited a history of the memorial, saying that white pillar was originally erected yards away from the current spot on that same Mary D. Lang property in 1940.
When the original Mary D Lang school was demolished to be replaced by the current high school down Union Street, the memorial remained until it was moved to the corner where the current Mary D. Lang school was built in 1970
Following the recently concluded refurbishing of the kindergarten, Taylor said the members of the post decided it would be appropriate to rededicate this year.
On hand for the ceremony was a small U.S. Marine unit for the flag ceremony and a band of veterans from all the branches of the military for her 21-gun salute.
Rev. Jim Mundell, associate paster of West Grove United Methodist Church, was on hand to deliver the opening prayer, benediction and history of World War I.
Trumpeter Matt Grieco played “Taps.”