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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

The Stories Behind Rutherford's World War II Heroes

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits (monument): John McParland

Four years ago, longtime Rutherford resident, John McParland, noticed a long list of the names of military servicemen who had died during World War II listed on the monument in the park. Out of curiosity, he took it upon himself to begin doing some research about those who were born in and/or lived in Rutherford and served in the military during World War II. About three years ago, McParland asked for some assistance at the Rutherford Public Library and Rhoda, the Research Librarian, hauled the microfilm machine out of storage so that John could search through newspapers, "The Republican" and "The American," from the 1940s through the 1950s. McParland also found articles from the newspapers printed after the war had ended in 1945 useful in his research. For years after the war, there were still stories about men who were being memorialized and honored in their hometowns. After their loved ones had passed away during the war, families were given the option of having them returned so they could be buried at Hillside or Arlington cemeteries.

Soon John learned about a website entitled, Stories Behind the Stars, where writers submit stories about World War II heroes to be published on what would have been their 100th birthday. There are one hundred sixty volunteers that write these stories since there are over 400,000 stories to be told. John decided he was also interested in writing about those who lost their lives in service during World War II.

In October 2017, John presented many of his findings at the Meadowlands Museum. In addition, he has shared many of his stories about Rutherford’s World War II military servicemen on the website, Stories Behind the Stars, as well as a number of other websites, such as Fold3 by Ancestry.

McParland has written about many of Rutherford's World War II heroes. To read their stories, click on each name below.

Albert Anthony Yosco, 1938 St. Mary's High School graduate, U.S. Navy.

James N. Van Dyke

James N. Van Dyke, 1938 RHS Graduate, U.S. Army.

Sidney H. Levenson

Sidney H. Levenson, RHS Graduate, U.S. Marine Corps.

John P. Tucek, 1938 RHS Graduate, U.S. Marine Corps.

Groves C. Barker, 1938 RHS Graduate, U.S. Army.

Charles A. Messineo, attended RHS, U.S. Army.

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