I ponder Veterans Day, my thoughts naturally go back to my submarine
shipmates on Trident, Dace, and Flying Fish who
all served well with me during the Vietnam and the Cold War. Many have since
died or were killed in action long ago however, they are still with me in my
thoughts and the memories of those who knew and loved them. This Veterans Day,
however, my attention is drawn to Lieutenant James Palache, whose memorial
plaque resides in the North Wing of the Barney Library. James Palache,
Harvard College, class of 1918 left college early to volunteer in the service
of his country. And, while serving, was mortally wounded by a high-explosive shell in Cantigny, France while actively commanding
his men in relief of French positions; “but he continued to fight hand to hand with German soldiers
whom he subdued, and in so doing gave courage and inspired his comrades”.
Lieutenant Palache was Farmington's first
casualty and died May 28, 1918. Farmington’s Joan Hooker remembers when
she was in her twenties the Palaches lived here, she said in a 1969 letter: “I
think of the boys who, never came back from France. Young Palache died there
too, leading his men. He had just written to his father, 'It's the men in the
ranks; who count', and I remember his father marching in our Victory Parade"'.
Farmington Post No. 53, of the American Legion, bears James Palache' name. His
Palache, vice-president of the Hartford Insurance Company, set up a fund in our
Village Library for the purchase of history books in the promotion of history,
in his name during the War to End All Wars. I invite you to read more about Palache and
others at our Library by beginning with the enclosed links.