By Kelly Burch
---- — In 1941, Kenneth Boyd was a young Air Force enlistee who was accustomed to being jeered at by the locals in New Hampshire.
“There were signs that said, ‘Soldiers and sailors stay off the grass,’” said Boyd, now 93. “They would hardly speak to us.”
All of that changed on Dec. 7 that year. Boyd remembers driving through the city with members of his unit when he heard a strange sound: applause. The sailors were confused; they had not yet heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The locals had, however, and they realized that Boyd and his comrades were the answer.
“We were at war. We were going to save them,” he said. “We were the Air Force.”
Boyd’s story is just one of many that appear in “Salute to Veterans,” the coffee-table book to be published by North of Boston Media Group, publisher of The Eagle-Tribune.
Veterans, their families and the public are invited to pick up copies of the book during two events hosted by North of Boston Media Group. These events are happening Dec. 10 at The Eagle-Tribune offices in North Andover and Dec. 12 at The Salem News in Beverly. People are invited to share stories over coffee and donuts while finding their loved ones in the pages of the book.
To compile the book, North of Boston Media Group employees sorted through thousands of photographs of local veterans who served from the Civil War up to current military engagements. Local veterans and their families were invited to bring their photographs and memories to scan sessions at local newspapers. The response was overwhelming.
“I was so awed by the outpouring of veterans and their families who took the time and effort to dig out their photos and memorabilia and bring them to our offices to be included in the book,” said Editor Tracey Dee Rauh.
Writers from North of Boston Media group caught up with some veterans to hear more details about their service, as well as writing the bigger stories of global conflict. They interviewed many memorable veterans and family members, from a survivor of the tragic fire on the U.S.S. Forrestal in 1967 to the Joanne Patton, wife of Vietnam veteran Maj. Gen. George Patton and daughter-in-law of the celebrated WWII general.
“I never considered myself any sort of expert on the history of war in America, so this project was an incredibly educational one to participate in,” Rauh said. “It was especially rewarding to meet so many veterans and gain insight on how wars have touched home at this local level.”
Although the book features veterans from all wars, there was an especially strong outpouring of interest from veterans of the largest war the world has seen.
“We had so many World War II veterans who made it into our offices, some in their ’90s,” Rauh said. “Their stories were so compelling. It was truly an honor to meet these people.”
How to order 'Salute to Veterans' "Salute to Veterans" is available for a limited time at the special price of $29.95. To guarantee this price, the book can be pre-ordered online at www.pedimentbooks.com. The book will also be available for purchase at the book release events Dec. 10 and 12. Celebrate local veterans What: "Salute to Veterans" launch party. When and Where: Tuesday Dec. 10, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Eagle-Tribune, 100 Turnpike St., North Andover; Thursday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Salem News, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly. How: The public is invited to attend these free events. Please contact Tracey Dee Rauh, Kelly Burch or Linda Gardner at 978-946-2000 for more information.