David Kilby

By: centraljersey.com
MONROE – Thanks to a picture Margaret Daly kept for 66 years, Monroe’s historian John Katerba and the Monroe Township Council were able to resurrect the memory of an unsung hero who died in combat in World War II.
Warren J. Southworth, of Monroe Township, was engaged to be married to Ms. Daly before deploying to Germany and joining the 347th Infantry Division.
He was killed Dec. 22, 1944, after taking out two of three machine guns in a battle in Walsheim, Germany. He was mortally wounded while creeping up to take out the third.
The street leading into Veterans Park now memorializes his story and sacrifice. At a dedication ceremony Veterans Day, the street sign named after him was unveiled, and a wreath was placed by the Veterans Park sign.
"For years, nobody heard about him," Ms. Daly said. "Time just goes on. People returned from the war and became busy with their lives. It kind of fell through the cracks. But you can’t forget heroes."
"Photos do speak a thousand words," Mr. Katerba said as the two of them discussed the story leading up to the dedication ceremony.
Mayor Richard Pucci couldn’t say enough in gratitude of the positive impact sacrifices like Sgt. Southworth’s have on America.
He emphasized this ceremony was important not only for its historical aspect, but also since it celebrated the virtue of all veterans, especially those from the Monroe area like Sgt. Southworth.
At the dedication ceremony Thursday, Paul M. Southworth, Sgt. Southworth’s nephew, mentioned how his uncle left for the war with the promise of marrying Ms. Daly upon his return. Having soldiers like Sgt. Southworth fall in battle, leaving that promise unfulfilled, "is probably one of the most tragic things that could happen," he said.
The nephew of the fallen hero proceeded to tell how his uncle fired in close range of the enemy for four hours and attempted to destroy an enemy machine coalition, armed with only hand grenades.
The battle left such chaos that Sgt. Southworth’s body was never found. The only commemoration the soldier had prior to the Veterans Park dedication was a monument in Lorraine, France, commemorating all Americans who died in the war.
"I’ve been to Lorraine," Mr. Southworth said, "But nothing will replace this (dedication at Monroe Veterans Park)."
"It has often been called the war of all wars, and you are often called our greatest generation," Mayor Pucci said to the veterans present at the dedication.
He said stories like Sgt. Southworth’s really hit home for families who had a loved one die in battle, but added, "we feel as a member of America’s family" at events like this.
Sacrifices like those of Sgt. Southworth make a family out of "a nation of ones," he said.
"He makes us, 60-plus years later, the greatest nation ever on the face of the earth," the mayor added.
At the ceremony, Wayne Hamilton, business administrator of Monroe, read the letter written by Capt. James Pierceall of Mr. Southworth’s infantry division. Sgt. Southworth received a Silver Star.
"Some people may wonder why we don’t just put this sign on a street by Sgt. Southworth’s house," the mayor said.
"Because when kids come to this park and ask ‘What is Veterans Park?’ or ‘Who is that man?’ it gets explained. Parents can then take the chance to tell their children who, where and why the war happened, and as a youngster you’re influenced by those things.
"All of us join in saying ‘Thank you, Warren, and God bless America."