Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

On Flag Day, Pasco County to dedicate refurbished World War II memorial on its 60th anniversary

The names of Carl Gude’s two brothers and four of his cousins are listed on the World War II memorial in Dade City.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

The names of Carl Gude’s two brothers and four of his cousins are listed on the World War II memorial in Dade City.

DADE CITY — The once-wooden walls are now granite, the names of each of the 1,857 veterans etched in the smooth stone to ensure they are never forgotten.

An octagonal World War II memorial that for 60 years was protected by Plexiglas is now restored, thanks to Pasco County community leaders who couldn't bear to see the heroic efforts of the Greatest Generation honored on a crumbling wall.

"It's beautiful," said Carl Gude, a longtime resident and project donor. "They did a marvelous job on it." The memorial includes the names of Gude's brothers: Florian, who recently turned 90, and Army staff Sgt. Leonard Gude, who died at age 23 after being hit with shrapnel at a place in France dubbed Bloody Hill. His unit was part of the D-Day invasion. Carl Gude also has four cousins listed, including Louis Rachel, who was killed in action.

The original memorial was put up on the sides of a bandstand built in 1925 to entice the return of band leader John Philip Sousa, who had previously visited Pasco. He never did, but the bandstand was used for civic events. In 1954, leaders put up 14 wood panels on the sides with hand-painted names of the county's World War II veterans.

The restoration project began taking shape about a year ago when retired Assistant County Administrator Dan Johnson, a former Marine born three years after World War II ended, and then-County Commission Secretary Carol Logue, became concerned about the memorial's deterioration.

Time, heat, rain and more recently, skateboarders, had taken their toll. Some of the panels were cracked. Parts of names had disappeared. The panels had become so brittle that when a new name needed to be added, not a single painter was willing to make the attempt.

"We would not have anything if it weren't for them," Johnson said of the troops who faced down the Axis powers threatening to take over the world.

The effort raised slightly more than $12,000 in private donations, and Pasco County and Dade City government leaders offered matches. The total cost was $27,000, about $21,000 under original estimates. Donations from families, as well as banks and civic groups, brought the project to full funding, according to County Commission secretary Mary Lecznar.

Though money came in easily, one issue proved to be a sensitive: what to do with the names of the African-American veterans. In 1954, builders relegated them to two separate panels. The word "colored" was painted at the top. (It was painted over in 1968.)

After consulting those veterans' family members as well as local African-American leaders, organizers decided the names should stay put rather than be inserted alphabetically. But a new marker will go up with an explanation of race relations during that era.

"I don't think we need to correct something that symbolizes that era," said Imani Asukile, president of the African-American Heritage Society of East Pasco County.

He said that when the memorial was dedicated in 1954, it had been only six years since President Harry Truman signed an executive order integrating the armed forces.

Changing the memorial now, he said, "won't change the issues of race that continue in our national conversation."

The Rev. Nathaniel Sims, president of the Pasco NAACP, took a different view, saying the names should have been alphabetized.

"It's a new day," he said. "Progress has been made. Vets are vets."

Johnson admitted the reactions were mixed but said he felt at peace over the decision.

"I feel really good about it," said Johnson, whose wife's uncle was killed in Holland in 1944 and who has other relatives who served. "The new memorial will stand for more than 60 years. We even added a couple of names we didn't know about."

County Commissioner Ted Schrader, whose office is in the historic courthouse behind the memorial and an early supporter of the project, said he hopes for a good turnout at the June 14 re-dedication. That would be Flag Day, exactly 60 years after the original dedication.

"I hope many others will join me on that day to remember those who without hesitation left behind their loving families, not knowing if they would return from this disruption in their lives," Schrader said. "They were truly a part of America's greatest generation."

WHAT: Pasco County dedication of refurbished World War II memorial

WHEN: 11 a.m. June 14

WHERE: Meridian Street, Dade City, outside Pasco County historic courthouse



>>if you go

Paying tribute

What: Pasco County dedication of refurbished World War II memorial

When: 11 a.m. June 14

Where: Meridian Street, Dade City, outside Pasco County historic courthouse



. if you go

Hed goes here

What: Pasco County dedication of refurbished World War II memorial

When: 11 a.m. June 14

Where: Meridian Street, Dade City, outside Pasco County historic courthouse

On Flag Day, Pasco County to dedicate refurbished World War II memorial on its 60th anniversary 06/05/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2014 3:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990
  2. Marijuana extract sharply cuts seizures in severe form of epilepsy

    Medicine

    An oil derived from the marijuana plant sharply reduces violent seizures in young people suffering from a rare, severe form of epilepsy, according to a study published last week that gives more hope to parents who have been clamoring for access to the medication.

  3. 'I ain't fit to live': Police say Mississippi gunman kills 8

    Crime

    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — A man who got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over his children was arrested Sunday in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including his mother-in-law and a sheriff's deputy.

    People embrace Sunday outside the Bogue Chitto, Miss., house where eight people were killed during a shooting rampage Saturday in Lincoln County, Miss.
  4. Kushner's Russia ties questioned as Trump cites media 'lies'

    National

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia, saying the security clearance of President Donald Trump's son-in-law may need to be revoked.

  5. Muslims thankful for support after rant, deadly attack

    Crime

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Muslims in Portland, Ore., thanked the community for its support and said they were raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women — one wearing a hijab — who were targeted by an anti-Muslim rant.

    Jeremy Christian is accused of killing 2 men who stepped in as he berated two women.