Capping each year’s Ellis County Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony is a WWII battle reenactment in Waxahachie’s historical town square and nearby train station. More than 200 living-history participants from six states congregate in authentically reproduced period uniforms and 60 military vehicles to honor veterans and their history.
The battle re-enactment on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm will conclude WWII weekend events commencing on Friday, November 8th.
HOMETOWN PARTICIPANTS IN HISTORY
TOKYO AIR RAID
On April 18, 1942, the U.S. commenced a daring and dangerous air raid over Tokyo in response to Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, 16 B-25 bombers were launched from the carrier deck of the USS Hornet in a maneuver never previously attempted. Plane #13 was piloted by an Ellis county veteran, Lt. Edgar McElroy, Army Air Corps.
Their mission, which greatly boosted American and Allied morale, would provide a reciprocal lesson in vulnerability which took a toll on Imperial Japan and its military strategy. The repositioning of seasoned fighter pilots in defense of their homeland would generate strategic benefits for the U.S. in the Battle of Midway and other South Pacific campaigns.
June 6, 1944 would mark the Allied invasion on D-Day and the largest seaborne operation in history. Two young men from Ellis County would sacrifice their lives that day – never to realize the outcome for which they fought.
T/Sgt. Roscoe “Buddy” Wilson of Mt. Peak was a casualty as two bombers collided over the English Channel in the early morning darkness. An Army Air Corps radio operator on a B-24 bomber, his squadron was heading for enemy lines in support of troops landing on the beaches of Normandy.
Cpl. Jessie Cleveland of Ennis was an Army Engineer landing with the first wave on the Easy Green sector of Omaha Beach. Killed in action during the operation, he was clearing a path through German obstacles for the soldiers who would follow.
“We stand on the backs of their sacrifice. Their history is our tradition, as long as there are Americans to remember…”