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Pierce Park Dedication

"No more fitting location could have been selected for the monument dedicated at Ennis on Memorial Day to the memory of the nine Dallas Division employees who gave their lives in military service during World War II. Placed in the two block long park area on the Southern Pacific right of way in the heart of Ennis, the granite shaft stands as a constant reminder to railroad employees, as well as others, of the debt owed in these young men who made the supreme sacrifice that the way of life they cherished should continue.

"Dedication services were solemn and impressive and consciousness of the valor of these nine heroic men was uppermost in the minds of the two thousand five hundred people witnessing the ceremony. 

"The eight foot monument which was purchased with contributions made by Southern Pacific employees on the division, bears the inscription 'Pierce Park,' for, at the ceremony, the park area, which borders Main Street, was given this name in honor of Sgt. W. T. Pierce, Jr., the first Dallas Division employee to die in combat. 

"On the north side of the shaft are the names of R. F. Rikard, yard clerk at Hearne; Glynn Massey, messenger at Corsicana; Fred Reyther, car repairer, Fort Worth, and Guy Youngblood, machinist apprentice, Ennis. On the south side are the names of R. M. Bush, file clerk, Ennis; W. L. Cook, yardman, Sherman; Leo W. Ford, maintenance of way department, Van Alstyne; E. V. Alaminski, B&B carpenter, Bremond, and W. T. Pierce, Jr., yard clerk at Sherman. 

"Present as honor guests were Mrs. R. M. Bush, wife of Lt. Bush, and the following parents: Mrs. Letha Youngblood of Dallas; Mr. And Mrs. G. A. Massey of Corsicana; Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Pierce, Sr., of Bardwell, and Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Cook of Sherman. Also present as honor guests were several Southern Pacific employes and their wives, parents of young men who died in service during the war. They were Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Ricks, I. L. Newlin, G. N. Goddard, E. C. Tolar, W. H. Goodwin, C. W. McCaskill, Mrs. Lon Backloupe, Mrs. G. Hernandez and C. Cervantes. A number of other parents, who reside at various points on the division, were unable to be present. 

"Col. R. F. Williams, terminal superintendent for southern Pacific at Houston, and former assistant superintendent on Dallas Division, was master of ceremonies. Col. Williams was in command of the Southern Pacific sponsored 719th Railway Operating Battalion which saw service in North Africa and Italy during the recent conflict. 

"Invocation was by Maj. James T. Duvall, chaplain. Capt. George P. Hines, Commander of Ennis Post 6008, Veterans of Foreign Wars introduced the principal speaker, Lt. Col. Joseph W. Kean, Jr., commanding officer of the Marine Air Detachment, Dallas. 

"In his talk, Col. Kean spoke of the sacrifice made by these nine young men, reminding his listeners that what was done that day was not the only way in which the citizens of this country can serve the memory of the heroic dead. This he stressed in his closing remarks in which he quoted the Memorial Day message of Admiral Nimitz in which he said, 'It is with humility and reverence that we honor our gallant dead on this Memorial Day and pray that in the years to come resort to war will be erased from the hearts and minds of men. The strength of America is dedicated to this hope and to the conviction that those who sacrificed their lives in all our wars shall not have died in vain.' 

"At the conclusion of his address, Col. Kean stepped to the side of the speakersí platform to unveil the monument. At that precise moment, a formation of combat planes from the Marine Air Base flew overhead in salute. 

"After the unveiling, Col. Kean escorted Mrs. W. T. Pierce, Sr., to the monument, at the base of which she laid a wreath. A military salute was fired and taps sounded, bringing to a close the impressive ceremony. 

"Music before and after the dedication services was furnished by three bands, those of St. John School, Ennis High School and the Fort Worth Army Air Field. The entire program was broadcast over Radio Station KAND, Corsicana. 

"Arrangements for the dedication services were handled by a committee headed by H. M. Pruitt, vice president of the Dallas Division Southern Pacific Employes Service Club and Ivan Dycus, manager of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce. Byrne Cook was chairman of the monument committee."

Ceremony Honors Dallas Division War Dead: On Memorial Day, Friday, May 30, 1947 "Pierce Park" was dedicated to honor the Dallas Division employes of Southern Pacific who gave their lives in military service during World War II. The above text is taken verbatim from the "Southern Pacific Bulletin," for the Texas and Louisiana Lines, in the bimonthly issue dated May-June 1947. All documents and pictures courtesy of Doris Pierce Gerron, sister of Sgt. William Thomas "Dooney" Pierce, Jr.

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