Thousands in Butler County heeded the call on Dec. 7, 1941

Published 5:37 pm Friday, December 5, 2008

Sunday, December 7 is – as President Franklin D. Roosevelt state – is a date that still lives in the minds of many veterans as a “Day of Infamy.”

The United States recognizes Dec. 7, 1941 as the day America was drawn into World War II against the Axis powers when the U.S. Naval Station in Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan during an early morning raid. Two draft boards in Butler County, one in Greenville, one in Georgiana, operated with maximum efficiency throughout the duration of World War II. Approximately 3,300 men and women from Butler County served in all branches of the military, heeding the call from Roosevelt to service following the Pearl Harbor attack, according to Margaret Jane Gaston, who helped compile a list of veterans in October 2006 for a special ceremony at the First United Methodist Church.

“When we first began the assignment of gathering WWII veterans names from this area, we considered separating the names by their church affiliation,” she said. “While reviewing the list of names it occurred to us that many of these veterans fought side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder. It certainly did not matter to them whether their comrades were Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, Lutheran, or none of the above.”

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Gaston said the men and women who served in WWII represented the best and brightest of Butler County, and a grateful nation.

“These servicemen and women, whose courage and valor protected our homes, our land, our way of life, in our country’s darkest hour,” said Gaston, “marched off to camps, and endured rigorous basic training and learned quite early the value of saluting and officer.”