By Robert McGuire
Thank you, Tim
Welcome residents and friends to the annual Lopez Memorial Day program.
The date was Sunday the 16th of May 1943.
Hundreds of people from Lopez and around the county were gathered right here.
They were here in observance of “I AM AN AMERICAN DAY”.
To be honest, I don’t recall ever hearing of that before, but I was only one year old then.
It was then that a large beautiful LOPEZ HONOR ROLL showing 149 names of Lopez servicemen was unveiled and dedicated.
It was erected on the school grounds right in front of the flag pole that still stands up there. It is said that the rain and mist that day dimmed the atmosphere but not the heartfelt emotion of the crowd. You see, the Lopez residents were so proud of their people in service, they worked many weeks to complete that memorial, a true tribute to our people in the war.
The committee responsible for its erection and dedication was Stephen Chupack, P. A. Daly, Miss Ann Yarosh, and Miss Laura Covey. To William Raub of Lopez goes most of the credit for the work. James Daly of Dushore, did the electrical work on 2 neon rings and floodlights that lit up at night.
It was described as the most attractive in these parts and second to none when measured by the size of the Lopez community. At this dedication was:
Master of ceremonies…..T. O. McCracken
Rev. C. B. Meyers of Dushore
Miss Dorothy Kracoski of Lopez, sang the National Anthem.
Attorney F. W. Meyert
John M. Lumley county superintendent
Rev. Peter Dubrovsky of Lopez
The 149 names on this Honor Roll were listed by family in order of number of members in service. 38 families were responsible for 99 members in service. They ranged from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 family members in service. There were 50 Single Star families that made up the rest.
More names were added in following years to make over 200 Lopez men and a few women in service in the Second World War. Names were then listed alphabetically. Lopez had the highest percentage of military serving in the country. Very few people now will know or remember any of the names on that Honor Roll or the people responsible for its construction.
As a boy a few years later, I can still remember the Memorial Day parades. They seemed to last for an hour, cars and people all over the place, military marching to their places on each side of the Honor Roll, floats, speaker, singing, prayers, firing squad, taps, band playing and all over. Then after they were gone, us boys rushed up the hill to recover some or even just one of the shells that were fired in the 21 gun salute.
Something else always stuck in my head. Most names on the Honor Roll were made with white plastic letters.
About a dozen were in gold letters. It wasn’t till a few years later that favorite teacher Miss Macik told us what that meant. These were the soldiers that were killed in action. These are the men that gave their all so we can be here and be free.
Just a few Lopez military for you to think about:
Pvt. Daniel Stavisky killed in action in France November 1944 22 years old
Pvt. Thomas K Cahill Jr. killed in Anzio during the Allied drive on Rome May 23rd 1944 24 years old
Pvt. Eugene Cahill killed in Germany October 1944
Sgt. Steve Urena killed in action in the Luzon Islands Jan 29, 1945 at the age of 21
Pvt. Frank Kravetz killed in action in France October 17, 1944 he was 22 years old. He is buried in a US cemetery in Europe. The Kravitz family had 8 sons in the war.
There were others killed in action listed on the Honor that Roll.
Please think of them also.
To these men and all the others around the country that gave their all, today we honor, and we salute.
Thank you to all the parade participants.
Thank you for attending.
GOD BLESS AMERICA