Here in Gloucester, we are celebrating the opening of local photographer Jason Grow's tribute to the World War II veterans remaining on Cape Ann. We previously covered the project in its development phase, but finally, all the portraits have been installed for display at City Hall.

Nearly a year ago, Jason was reading the Daily Times when he noticed an obituary for a World War II veteran. He realized that with the anniversary of the war's end reaching its 70th year, fewer and fewer veterans would remain. Jason began this project, a personal one for him borne out of respect for the sacrifices these men made. He set off to photograph as many veterans as possible.

Photo courtesy of Martin DelVecchio

As word of the project spread, Jason was able to raise funds via a GoFundMe for the supplies needed to mount and frame the portraits, as well as install them. There was no cost to the veterans, and they each receive a print as a thank you for their participation.

On Saturday, the exhibition opened with a reception featuring dozens of the photographed veterans and their families, as well as Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, and Director of Veteran's Services Adam Curcuru and many other councilors and selectmen, as well as the public at large - a fantastic turnout for a deserving project. The Donn Carr Band played live music, and the Gloucester Sea Cadets presented the color guard.

Photo courtesy of Martin DelVecchio

"The reaction was phenomenal, and very touching. It was so sweet to see them gathering with their families to take photos in front of the displays," stated Jason. "The great sense of family and community at the opening was terrific. To have the generations together like that, mixing it up and enjoying the afternoon… that made it special." The veterans were excited to be there as well. Said 96 year old former Army nurse Marcia Ramey, "I've seen so many people I haven't seen for years.

When asked about his favorite reactions to the project, he continued, "It's just been overwhelming to hear how touched people have been that the project has even happened... the responses from the vets themselves about how much they appreciate the event and the recognition, and the fact that my kids are really proud of the show."

The month-long exhibition isn't something Kyrouz auditorium, which holds public city council meetings as well as other municipal gatherings, often sees. Jason was worried about the logistics not working out, but thankfully, the installation proceeded without major issues. "It was dicey there for awhile," Jason stated, "The mayor and the folks at City Hall have been super accommodating and helpful."


City Hall, usually closed on Veteran's Day, will be open tomorrow 12-4 for a special viewing of the exhibit.

Jason has also invited community members to bring a copy (please no originals) of a photo of a relative/friend who served in WWII for the project's Memory Wall.

Although the exhibit should continue through November and possibly into December, that won't be the end of the project. Eventually it will be viewable online. Jason is still looking for subjects - especially women.