VALLEJO, CA (December 7, 2017) – American Legion Manuel L. Quezon Post 603 commemorated the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day and celebrated Purple Heart Medal recipients by dedicating the newly-installed “Purple Heart Trail” sign at Mare Island’s Tennessee Street entrance on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m.
During World War II, Vallejo contributed much more than its share to the war effort, with Mare Island Naval Shipyard building and repairing many ships in record time. This was also true with the number of locals enlisting in the military, and sadly also the number of casualties. In World War II, there were approximately 416,800 U.S. military deaths or about 0.3155% of the 132,100,000 year-1940 population, whereas Vallejo had 228 deaths or 1.1359% out of its 20,072 residents in 1940.
Two Vallejo-related Congressional Medal of Honor recipients were also remembered at Thursday’s event: Private First Class Robert H. Young of U.S. Army, Company E, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, who earned his medal on Oct. 9, 1950 in Korea. He was wounded four times during a battle, killing five enemy combatants and providing cover, while wounded, allowing other injured comrades to be evacuated; and Anund C. Roark, Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, who earned his by throwing himself on an enemy grenade in Kontum province, Republic of Vietnam on May 16, 1968, saving the lives of many of his comrades by sacrificing his own.
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to our war heroes who were killed in action or wounded in action. According to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the 5th Congressional District (U.S. Representative Mike Thompson - Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Vietnam), City of Vallejo, Vallejo City Unified School District, Greater Vallejo Recreation District, California State University-Maritime Academy, Touro University California, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are all Purple Heart-designated entities.
In April 2015, “Purple Heart Trail” signs were installed below the “Vallejo City Limit” signs located on Interstate 80 just before the Carquinez Toll Plaza and the Hunter Hill Safety Roadside Rest Area. Due to safety and cost issues (and “inconvenience” to travelers) with closing a lane on I-80, it was not feasible to hold onsite photo sessions. Instead, we held the Purple Heart City ceremony at City Hall in conjunction with the Vallejo Police and Fire Annual Candlelight Vigil on May 13, 2015.
About American Legion Manuel L. Quezon Post 603: As one of the nearly 14,000 posts in the nation’s largest veterans organization, Post 603 was chartered on March 31, 1945, and has honored 200 World War II veterans in 2011-2012 & 2016, over 400 Korean War veterans in 2013-2014, over 600 Vietnam War veterans since 2014, and 125 Purple Heart Medal recipients. www.legiontown.org/print/4407
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