"...they were alive and did the work of their days"

To recognize Memorial Day, and in response to my fellow blogger (and multiple distant cousin) Heather Rojo, I am proud to be participating in the Honor Roll Project, which she began in 2010 on her award-winning site Nutfield Genealogy. Heather's hope is to compile photos and transcriptions of war memorials and honor rolls from across the U S of A, to allow both family members and family historians to be able to find them through Internet searches.

My modest contribution is the World War II memorial here in the village of Greenhills, Ohio, which is celebrating an honor of its own this year: its 75th anniversary. Greenhills is one of the three historic "greenbelt communities" that were designed and built by the United States Resettlement Administration, as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal.


Our village was dedicated in 1938, the second of the three completed greenbelt communities out of a planned twenty-five. (The others being Greenbelt, Maryland and Greendale, Wisconsin; all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.) The ambitious project was stopped in part by the outbreak of World War II. Just six years after its founding, the village erected its war memorial, an obelisk on the village commons.


Apparently there was some controversy about the memorial at the time: the powers that be decided to have the monument made of concrete, rather than the more usual granite or marble. The dedication itself must have been splendid and moving; John McCrae's iconic poem "In Flanders Field" was read by a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the V F W, and a soprano sang the 1922 standard "My Buddy," by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson. And of course, it must have been even more poignant still as the seven honorees were all from original "Pioneer" families who had moved into Greenhills just a few years earlier, and would have been known to everyone in this still-neighborly village of just a few thousand residents.



"IN MEMORIAM"
WORLD WAR II
 
JACK MOLLOY
STANLEY GAY
FRANK WARNER, JR.
EDWARD PFIRRMANN
DAN JOY
FRED PHILLIPS
PETER MEINKING

To this day, there are third and fourth generation "Pioneers" living in Greenhills, some descended from or related to our fallen. Some of their descendants will be participating in our annual Memorial Day parade.

Greenhills' only other war-related monument is "Shadows of Freedom," a sundial-like spire at the other end of the commons that casts a shadow upon discs set into a winding  path, on dates commemorating historic events such as the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and--appropriately--Memorial Day.

"Shadows of Freedom"

 
 
SHADOWS OF FREEDOM
DEDICATED JULY 2, 1988
TO
THE COMMUNITY
COMMEMORATING
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY
OF
GREENHILLS
BY
HUGH WATSON POST 530
AMERICAN LEGION
FOUNDED NOV. 9, 1938

Usually for this blog I contrive some theme or idea as a springboard to jump into my own family's stories, but already having written elsewhere about members of my family who fought--and died--in wars, town foundings, and even my oblique connection to the Roosevelts, I am having a difficult time coming up with another tie-in. But perhaps that is best. There should be no "me" in Memorial Day; it is a time we set aside to honor far too many others.


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