By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
This plaque keeps their memory alive.
A bronze plaque commemorating Company H of the 168th Infantry in the 42nd Rainbow Division has found a permanent home in Forest Cemetery. The memorial was moved from the Oskaloosa square to Forest Cemetery on Oct. 30, said Fred Bridges, Sergeant at Arms for the American Legion post in Oskaloosa.
Today, the memorial plaque is part of the Veterans Monument at Forest Cemetery. The Veterans Monument sits on the south side of the cemetery’s large pond.
“It really looks nice there,” said Bridges, noting that the plaque itself is impressive. “We’re pretty proud of the fact that we’ve given it a permanent home now.”
A ceremony dedicating the new location of the plaque was held and included Bridges, as well as 12 members of the Honor Guard. He said a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps” rounded out the dedication ceremony.
Bridges explained that Company H was mostly soldiers from Mahaska County, adding that those in the Rainbow Division were from all over the United States. While discussing some of the World War I history connected to Mahaska County, Bridges noted that Oskaloosa’s American Legion Post is named after Harry L. Anderson, who was the first Mahaska County soldier to die in World War I.
“He was just 17 years old at the time,” said Bridges.
Bridges has a personal connection to at least one World War I veteran. His great-uncle William Mich fought in the war, which is also known as The Great War.
Veterans Day is this coming Sunday. On that day, many Americans honor those who fought in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and more modern conflicts. Bridges said it’s important to also honor those Americans who fought in World War I, also known as The Great War.
A Veterans Day program will be held at the VFW Post 2237, 1215 S. 17th St., with Charlie Comfort as the guest speaker, said Bridges. He said the program will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.