Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, November 9, 2008, pg. 12
As we observe Veteran’s Day (Armistice Day) on Tuesday, November 11, we are reminded of the dwindling number of World War II veterans still in our midst. Hundreds of Albion men and some women were actively involved in the military during this crucial time in our country’s history. Those who were left at home, particularly women, worked at the factories such as Union Steel Products or at Lonergan’s while the men were off to War.
A long list of Albion’s World War II soldiers and sailors appears in the local edition of General Marshall’s Victory Report in the back “local” pages. This booklet was distributed by the local VFW Auxiliary, headed by Auxiliary president Eva Osburn. It also gave the names of those who were killed in action from the Albion area.
One of Albion’s greatest memorials ever erected to honor our citizens in active service at the time were the “billboards” that were placed on the north side of the U.S. Post Office during the War. Two large billboards were placed on the site of the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad depot that had been moved from the site in the 1930s. Later during the 1950s the Bank of Albion was erected on the site, and today is the site of Albion Downtown Development.
These two billboards stated “Honor Roll, Albion Citizens in Military Service. Buy War Bonds for Victory.” Contained on these boards were the names of every person from the Albion area who were serving in the military during World War II. The last name was given, along with the first initial. A blue star was placed above those names. Those who were killed in action had a gold star placed above their name. There also was a third smaller board behind the large ones where additional names were added as more people entered military service.
Apparently many WWII veterans don’t remember these billboards, as they were away at War when they were on display. What happened to these billboards? From what I have learned, they were removed and stored in the American Legion Home on E. Michigan Avenue before it was demolished in the mid-1950s. From our Historical Notebook this week we present the Honor Roll billboard (the first of two) next to the U.S. Post Office during World War II. Do any of our readers remember this billboard? Did you have a relative of yours serve in World War II?
Albion's first "Honor Roll" billboard was located next to the Post Office during World War II
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic