St. John WWII vets honored with plaque

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE — Residents of St. John Parish who did their part to protect the country during World War II now have a monument to honor their services.

Parish leaders past and present were on hand Monday with the veterans of the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve for a presentation of a 4-foot by 8-foot plaque displaying the names of St. John Residents who offered a portion of their lives to fight the fight of the second great war — all 1,758 of them.

“This is the culmination of nine years of hard research,” said Quincy Montz, a WWII Air Force Veteran who came up with the idea of the plaque. “Thirty-two brave souls gave the ultimate sacrifice, 80 were wounded in battle, and 30 on the list are women who volunteered for the military.”

Montz, who began his tour of duty in the war on July 4, 1944 on Omaha Beach, explained he got the idea for the all-inclusive plaque after watching a documentary about the restoration of the American flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. The flag inspired a poem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” which later became our National Anthem.

“There was a request at the end of the documentary that asked people across the nation to look out for treasures in their own cities and towns that may need restoration,” said Montz. “I pondered that request for sometime and finally realized that St. John the Baptist Parish’s greatest asset is its people, particularly its veterans.”

Montz’s idea began with writing a book about St. John Veterans of World War II. He said all proceeds from sale of the book were dedicated to the memorial. After years of work and name research, Montz compiled all the names and created the plaque, which hangs in the hall near the dinning area of the War Veterans Home.

“I was inspired by the words of Winston Churchill,” said Montz during his dedication speech. “He said, ‘never, never, never quit. Plug along and your dream will come true.’ And that is what I did.”

Parish President Bill Hubbard was on hand for the ceremony along with past President Arnold Labat and retired Sheriff Lloyd Johnson. Councilwoman Cheryl Millet was also in the audience. The presentation also included a speech from D-Day Museum Historian William Detweiler, who gave his praise to the veterans in the audience.

“I think all of us in this room are most grateful for all you’ve done,” said Detweiler. “You people truly represent the greatest generation.”