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Monday, May 28, 2012

William Allen- Memorial Day

Plaques at entrance of GHS.
Plaque at entrance to Galesburg High School
dedicated to the 64 faculty and students
killed in World War II. 
There is a plaque near the entrance to Galesburg High School to honor students and faculty who have died in service of our country. On the plaque honoring WWII dead, there are 63 GHS students named and 1 GHS faculty member named who all died in WWII.

It is hard to put the magnitude of this loss in perspective. From the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 until VJ Day on September 2, 1945, the United States was at war for 45 months. That means in Galesburg from 1941 thru 1945, there was a funeral for a GHS student or faculty member roughly every 21 days. The War effected individuals, families, and obviously communities.
William Allen identified as the lone GHS
faculty member killed in World War II.
The faculty member who was killed in WWII was William Allen, an English teacher and drama coach. He was a recent graduate of Knox College. There was no draft, he did not have to go into the military. He chose to go. But like many teachers, he put his students first. He had intended to enlist in the Navy, but wanted to wait until after he directed the school play. He wanted to make sure his students had a chance to perform their play before he left. Because of this decision to wait, he entered the Army after directing the play.

Picture of William Allen (Knox grad) at
Memorial Gym on the Knox campus.
William Allen is my wife, Amy's uncle. Loss in war is not fair and effects some more than others. For the Allen family, they lost William Allen in WWII and they lost William's brother-in-law as well. Imagine the heartbreak to twice have military vehicles drive up to your rural Alta farmhouse to tell you of the death of a family member. 

On Memorial Day we need to remember the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice were sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers. So much was given by so many families. 

Description at Memorial Gym on
Knox campus.

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