Thirty-two souls marched off to fight in World War II and never returned to Amherst.
Their sacrifice was remembered Thursday in a ceremony at American Legion Post 118, held on the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
“They gave their lives in defense of this great nation,” intoned trustee Tom Hauck.
The names of the 32 were inscribed in brass and inset on a rock, placed where all can see.
Hauck led a brief ceremony, recalling the horrors unleashed by Axis forces starting around 6 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941.
The raiders attacked Hawaii, leaving in their wake 2,403 dead Americans: 2,008 sailors, 218 soldiers and U.S. Army Air Force members, 109 Marines, and 68 civilians. Another 1,178 lay wounded.
Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships.
The following day, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” speech, and Congress declared that America would enter the war.
The industrial might of the United States turned toward the war effort. Over the next four years, 16 million American men and women served in the armed forces.
Of those, 405,399 were killed in action and 671,278 were wounded.
Gov. John Kasich ordered all flags statewide to fly at half-staff in their memory from sunrise until sunset on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
“We remember the lives lost that tragic December morning and we owe all men and women of our military a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay,” he wrote in a formal resolution.
Most who returned home have passed. Those who reported for duty at age 18 in 1941 would be 94 years old today.
We lose 372 World War II veterans every day; only 620,000 or so remain, according to the National World War II Museum.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
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