Tag Archives: New Jersey

Technical Sergeant John W. Meagher, USA (June 19, 1945)

MeagherJohnJohn William Meagher was born on December 5, 1917 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was still living there when he was drafted at age 24 into the United States Army for service in World War II on March 21, 1942.

Meagher was an infantryman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. The 77th, known as the “Statue of Liberty Division” for their shoulder patch, was activated just four days after Meagher’s draft date and trained extensively in the United States before heading for war in the Pacific in March, 1944. They fought in the campaigns on Guam and Leyte before joining the forces for the attack on Okinawa.

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Private First Class Francis X. McGraw, USA (November 19, 1944)

Francis Xavier McGraw was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 29, 1918 and was living in Camden, New Jersey when he entered the United States Army to serve during World War II. McGraw was a machine gunner in Company H, 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

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Master Sergeant Nicholas Oresko, USA (January 23, 1945)

Nicholas Oresko was born in Bayonne, New Jersey on January 18, 1917. He was married and an office clerk when he was drafted for wartime service in the United States Army on March 25, 1942. Oresko was a member of the 302nd Infantry Regiment, part of the 94th Infantry Division. They landed in France for combat duty on September 8, 1944.

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Second Lieutenant Stephen R. Gregg, USA (August 27, 1944)

Stephen Raymond Gregg was born in the New York City borough of The Bronx on September 1, 1914. He moved as an infant with his family to Bayonne, New Jersey where he grew up. Gregg likely could have avoided being drafted due to his employment as a shipyard welder in Kearny, New Jersey. He was inducted into the United States Army on February 9, 1942 in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II.

At age 29, he was one of the oldest enlisted members of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division when they landed in Italy at Salerno in September 1943. Among his Company L comrades was Charles E. “Commando” Kelly, who received the Medal of Honor for his gallantry on September 13-14, 1943.

Stephen Gregg learned from Kelly how to be a one man army.

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TFH 2/20 Part 1: First Lieutenant William R. Lawley, Jr., USAAF

William Robert Lawley, Jr. was born in Leeds, Alabama on August 23, 1920. He lived there throughout his childhood, graduating from high school in 1938. With the United States’ entry into the Second World War, Lawley didn’t wait for his name to be called in the draft and volunteered for the United States Army Air Corps on April 9, 1942. Lawley also volunteered for pilot training and received his wings along with his officer’s commission about one year after his enlistment in April 1943.

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TFH 2/17-19: Private First Class William J. Johnston, USA

William James Johnston was born on August 15, 1918 in Trenton, New Jersey. He resided in Colchester, Connecticut when he was drafted in January 1941 (I believe this is his enlistment record, despite the discrepancy in birth years).

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The American Horror Next Door

“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 

“Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”… 

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States…do hereby certify that the amendment aforesaid has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed. 

Done at the city of Washington, this eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninetieth. 

Proclamation of the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, December 18, 1865.

Today, in the closing days of the two hundred and thirty-seventh year of American Independence, less than one hundred and fifty years since the constitutional abolition of slavery in the United States, we take that abolition completely for granted. That’s a bold statement, I know, but I believe it completely justified.

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