On a stretch of Granite Street, from Five Corners to the Quincy line, Braintree officials came together on Sunday to rededicate the road to disabled veterans.
It had been exactly 50 years since the first time the dedication was done, down to the day of the week, the hour, and possibly even the minute.
According to Braintree Town Councilor Chuck Kokoros, the 50-year dedication of the road wasn’t initially intended merely for its perfect timing on a Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. on June 24, exactly 50 years since the same date and time in 1962 when it was first dedicated.
Bill Varasso, a Braintree resident and commander of the Braintree Disabled American Veterans organization, had discovered that the road dedication he had been to 50 years ago had largely been forgotten.
“Over the years, with the reconstruction and changes to the roadway cause of South Shore Plaza expansion, the [dedicated] area and sign were removed and somehow got lost in the shuffle and [put in] not a viable spot,” Kokoros said.
Varasso discovered this while going through some papers at the Disabled Veterans establishment. Immediately he knew something needed to be done.
"My primary goal was always to get that sign back up there," Varasso said. "All the ones in the original [dedication], there’s nobody left. I felt obligated to make sure it got back on there again."
“He came to me and said, ‘We really need to reestablish the sign in the right location so that people know this is DAV Memorial Highway’,” Kokoros said. “He understands that the address is still Granite Street, and he wasn’t looking for people to change their address, but he didn’t want it to be lost in the shuffle, and being one of the surviving members, he wanted to make sure the sign was put back up, put in a prominent location, so it would live on.”
Kokoros approached the mayor, state representatives, and state legislators about putting a garden and sign in the meridian of the road that ran next to the South Shore Plaza. Soon, all were on board to help coordinate for a new sign and dedication ceremony.
On Sunday, with almost 50 people in attendance and with the sign put back in its rightful spot, Kokoros spoke about the importance of such a dedication.
“Every time someone drives down Granite Street, they should remember it’s the DAV Memorial Highway. It shouldn’t be remembered where the place where the mall is…this road is dedicated and named for the DAV and hopefully people will think about that when they drive by and see the signs,” he said after the event.
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, State Senator John Keenan, a representative from U.S. Rep Stephen Lynch’s office, and State Representative Mark Cusack also attended the event. U.S. Senator Scott Brown sent a written letter.
Today, a small flowerbed and the double-sided sign help to promote the name of the roadway.
Additionally, with the recent ceremony, which was publicized on the town’s local cable network, most people should be aware of the name and be mindful of what the dedication truly means, Kokoros said.
The sign and rededication were also truly meaningful to Varasso.
"I was just pleased to see everybody show up, even from the government," he said.