Dedication of World War II Mural held at Memorial Park

Pictured is the World War II Mural after it was unveiled at the dedication ceremony for the mural at the Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park in Chariton this past Wednesday, Sept. 2. Pictured in front are the servicemen from Lucas County who were all sworn into the U.S. Navy at the same time on July 4, 1942. They all served in World War II and survived. They are in front from left: Mahlon Laing, Merle Norberg, Don Reed, Andy Musick, Glenn Fowler, Randal Willoughby, Robert Maxwell, Don Kingsbury and Paul Kingsbury. Second row from left: Andy McRoberts, Bill Carpenter, Bill Aitken, Bill Maxwell, Charles Blakesmith, Kenneth Holliday and Clifford Norton. (Bill Howes photo)

A very nice informative ceremony was held for the Dedication of the World War II Mural at the Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park in Chariton Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, the date which marked the 75th anniversary year of the end of World War II.

John Neal is the artist who painted the mural, which is called “From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay.”

In the foreground of the mural are the 16 young men from Lucas County who were sworn into the U.S. Navy on July 4, 1942, and all served their country honorably in World War II. All 16 of these men survived World War II and they were as follows:

Mahlon Laing, Merle Norberg, Don Reed, Andy Musick, Glenn Fowler, Randal Willoughby, Robert Maxwell, Don Kingsbury, Paul Kingsbury, Andy McRoberts, Bill Carpenter, Bill Aitken, Bill Maxwell, Charles Blakesmith, Kenneth Holliday and Clifford Norton.

Earl Comstock, the Lucas County Veterans Memorial Park Committee Chairman, gave the opening welcome.

“’Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended.’ Seventy-five years ago on Sept. 2, General Douglas MacArthur made these remarks aboard the U.S.S. Missouri when the formal surrender documents were signed. This marked the end of World War II and what’s now known as Victory over Japan (V-J Day).

“Our community drew a sigh of relief because the war was over. Our citizens could return home. After 1,365 days, the death toll would end; our community gave up 57 of her sons. But today we are here to honor all those men. The mural we are about to unveil is just one day of those 1,365 days. The story this mural represents appeared in the Chariton Leader and the Des Moines Register in July 1942,” Comstock said.

Tony Irving sang “The National Anthem” and Memorial Park Committee member Roger Blunk led everyone in the saying of “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

Pastor Richard Hutton of First Lutheran Church in Chariton gave the Invocation. In it he spoke of dedicating the mural in honor of those who served in World War II and said, “that we vow to never forget their sacrifice.”

Memorial Park Committee member Melody Allen then read a short story about the mural to be unveiled titled “What This Mural Means.”

“This mural is a snap-shot in time, one day of the 1,365 days of the United States’ involvement in World War II from Dec. 7, 1941-Sept. 2, 1945.

The Chariton Leader paper published on July 7, 1942 stated, “In a ceremony that thrilled the hearts of some 10,000 spectators, as these boys were sworn into the United Stats Navy on July 4, 1942. After taking the oath of enlistment, they boarded a bus for Des Moines, where they left by train for Chicago to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. All 16 of these men survived World War II. There were nearly 1,900 citizens from Lucas County who volunteered or were drafted for the War, and 57 of our citizens gave the ultimate sacrifice. We will be forever grateful to that generation of Americans for answering the call to defensd this great nation,” Allen said.

Read the September 8, 2020 edition of the Chariton Leader/Herald-Patriot for the rest of the story.

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