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Sign board for service members

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 9:36 a.m. CST

Plans were underway in June 1942 by the Service Mothers Club of Osceola to provide a large sign board listing the names of Clarke County men and women in the service of our country.

A large signboard donated by the Socony – Vacuum Oil Company (Mobil Gas) was placed west of the Mobil gas station on the southeast corner of the square for that purpose. Lights were being donated by Iowa Southern Utilities and local painters, along with the local organization of the United Service Women of America, decorated the sign hoping to have it completed before the Fourth of July.

The board contained more than 300 names in alphabetical order, and was 30 feet long and 10 feet high. When the space was all filled with names, wings were to be added at either end.

Hundreds assembled in the city park at 8 p.m. Aug. 1 for the dedication of the service member’s roster. The board was a public reminder Clarke County was carrying its full share on the battle fronts of the world.

On the board were names of men and women who had already given their lives in the defense of their land; names of men who were prisoners of war; and men who were locked in the titanic struggle for the Pacific in far off Australia, Alaska, Hawaii and the lesser outposts.

Men who were on the high seas doing battle with submarines, warships and bombers. Men who were playing a deadly game of hide and seek in clouds and in England awaiting the order to storm the shores of Europe and blast Hitler and his like from the earth.

As the last rays of setting sun slanted across the park, families, sweethearts and friends of those men and women assembled for the ceremony.

After the program dedication, ceremonies were carried out on the southeast corner of the square.

The big board containing the names was veiled by a curtain. The Methodist minister dedicated the board and turned to it in reverent salute as the curtain was slowly drawn aside with floodlights illuminating the row after row of names painted on the white background.

The galvanized metal face of the board retained paint only a few months before having to be refinished. Plans were for a new proposed honor roll service board to replace the temporary board in the city park.

Patriotic Day in Weldon

Weldon honored local men and women in the military and naval services at a “Heroes Day” rally in Weldon Sunday, July 19, 1942, at the city park in Weldon.

More than 300 people attended the program. Musical numbers were provided before the unveiling and dedication of the Service Honor Roll. Quite a large group of parents of the heroes were present and given special recognition. After about 20 years, the Service Honor Roll was in need of repairs and was taken down in the 1960’s.

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