Summit County veterans, past and present, honored at courthouse

The names of 1,534 Summit County military service members who died during World War II are now displayed outside the Summit County Courthouse in downtown Akron. The names are inscribed into plaques that were recently installed on exterior walls near the WWI Doughboy statue in a special area that honors Summit County veterans.

AKRON, Ohio – The names of 1,534 Summit County military service members who died during World War II are now displayed at the Summit County Courthouse in downtown Akron.

The names are inscribed on plaques that were recently installed on exterior walls near the WWI Doughboy statue in an area that honors veterans from the county. The Doughboy, which was unveiled in 1934, was created by the mothers of 66 Summit County soldiers who were killed during World War I.

To dedicate the WWII plaques and honor local service members for Veterans Day, County Executive Ilene Shapiro hosted a ceremony on Friday at the courthouse rotunda.

Opening the event, the Ellet High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the colors. The Summit Choral Society performed patriotic tributes.

Several WWII and Korean War veterans, now in their ’80s and ’90s, were in attendance as well as veterans of wars in Vietnam and the Middle East. Elected officials from municipalities cross Summit County also attended the dedication.

The WWII plaques were originally installed in 1954 in the University of Akron’s Memorial Hall. When the hall was demolished in 2010, the plaques were put in storage by David Pierson, UA’s vice president of capital planning and facilities management.

Vietnam War veteran Bruce Killian, commander of Fairlawn VFW Post 349, worked with Pierson and others to have the plaques installed at the courthouse. Killian, who was a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, told attendees that 130 county residents died serving in the Korean War.

WWII Memorial Wall.jpgA plaque at the Summit County Courthouse honors 1,534 local military members who lost their lives in WWII.  

Shapiro told attendees that especially now, during a time of increasing divisiveness in the country, it is important to remember the price many veterans paid while fighting for the freedoms we enjoy, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to practice religion and freedom from tyranny.

“We must never take freedom for granted or those who fought to protect it,” Shapiro said.

Summit County Veterans Service Commission Director Larry Moore spoke of the high casualty rate on D-Day, the day in 1944 when allied forces landed at the beaches of Normandy, France.

“You are my heroes,” he told the veterans. “I can’t think of a better job than to care for those who have cared for us for all these years.”

World War II and Korean War veteran Joseph Genet, a Barberton resident, was given a standing ovation after speaking about his experiences and about honoring service members who lost their lives.

Below is the list of Summit County residents who died serving the United States in WWII.

To learn more about Summit County’s Veterans Service Commission, visit the website.


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