New Bedford’s Fort Taber Flag To Honor WWII Veteran SGT Harold H. J. Clasky
During the month of November, the 50th Lights for Peace flag to fly at the Fort Taber – Fort Rodman Military Museum honors the memory of SGT Harold H. J. Clasky, the namesake of Clasky Common Park in New Bedford, MA.
Mr. Clasky was born in Russia on March 2, 1896, and according to the library archives at UMASS Dartmouth, lived his early life in Brockton, MA, attending the Brockton public schools.
According to the War Records Dept., Clasky registered with the selective service on June 5, 1917, at the age of 21. On August 26, 1918, he was inducted into the Army of the United States and served in the 18th Regiment Field Artillery Replacement Depot at Camp Jackson, SC. He was honorably discharged at Camp Devens, Mass. Jan. 10, 1919.
Clasky continued his education, earning a degree from the Boston University School of Business. He moved to New Bedford in 1931.
Then, on Mar. 10, 1941, Clasky enlisted in Co. H 25th Infantry Regiment Massachusetts State Guard for a term of three years. He was honorably discharged Mar. 9, 1944, per expiration of service. The following day he re-enlisted into 8th Co. 28th Infantry Regiment MSG. He was honorably discharged Jan. 31, 1947, per disbandment of the company. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal for his military service.
In 1952, his wife, Ida Fox, passed away in 1952 at the age of 45. Harold Clasky passed away on January 28, 1969, at the age of 72.
Clasky was known as a popular political figure in New Bedford and beyond. According to the UMASS Dartmouth Library archives, “He was a Jewish state senator noted for work he accomplished in the community. He served as a New Bedford Councilor-At-Large from 1952-1953 and 1956-1965 and as a Massachusetts State Senator representing the 3rd Bristol District from 1965 to 1969. Originally a life insurance agent by trade, he was involved in a number of local organizations including the American Legion, the Jewish War Veterans, and the Jonah Lodge of the B’nai Brith.”
He was remembered as “A most approachable and magnanimous man who served as a model of inspiration to everyone, no matter his or her faith, background or creed. He always had courage and will for a devoted and longtime career for public service. He brought no arrogance of power to office, only dedication, devotion, and a loyalty to the people he represented–a rare example of a man of the highest integrity and principle. Succinctly, he was an outstanding man of our times, a man of singular achievement, a righteous American, a superb politician and above all, a decent human being of quintessential goodwill and civility,” as quoted by Mel B. Yoken, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of French, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The popular park on County Street in New Bedford, known today as “Clasky Common Park,” was renamed and dedicated to Mr. Harold H. J. Clasky on October 13, 1969.