Since 1905

Heroes Among Us: Preserving the Memory of Local World War II Veterans

heroes among us

World War II was an incredibly significant event in human history, and the sacrifices made by the men and women who fought in the war cannot be overstated. The bravery and selflessness shown by these individuals continue to inspire a deep sense of gratitude and reverence in our hearts. Cities across the United States, including the warm and welcoming communities of Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach, Florida, have found various ways to honor and remember these veterans, making sure their legacy lives on in our collective memories.

In the 1950s, Daytona and Ormond Beach decided to pay tribute to the fallen heroes by naming streets after military personnel who lost their lives during World War II.

With each street sign, the townspeople are reminded of the courage and sacrifice of these men and women, ensuring their names are never forgotten.

Here are a few:

  • Bird Avenue – 2nd John Bird, Army Air Force
  • Dunn Avenue – 2nd Wesley Dunn, Marine Air Corps
  • Ginsberg Drive – Army 2nd Benjamin Ginsberg
  • Jablay Street – Staff Sgt. Careme Jablay, Army Air Forces
  • Sterthaus Avenue – Army Sgt. George Sterthaus
WWII Heroes
Photo Credit: Daytona Beach News Journal

As time went by and the growth of Halifax Hospital led to the disappearance of some of these streets and signs, the community’s unwavering commitment to honor these heroes remained strong.

They embarked on a mission to create a memorial book and a polished-granite memorial, keeping the spirit of remembrance alive.

The memorial book project, led by the compassionate Halifax Hospital Administrator Dan Lang and a dedicated team of volunteers, began as an effort to honor the original nineteen lost service members. As they delved into their research, they were deeply moved to discover dozens more fallen heroes from World War II who had not been recognized. These additional names, along with their touching stories, were added to the “Fallen Heroes” memorial book, which is now available for purchase at the Halifax Hospital Gift Shop.

In 2011, the community came together to dedicate a poignant, polished-granite memorial to the fallen heroes of the war. Nestled in an outdoor nook of the hospital, this solemn memorial is etched with photos and stars, paying tribute to the women and men from Daytona Beach, Holly Hill, Ormond Beach, and Port Orange. Today as one stands before this beautiful monument, a wave of emotions washes over, from gratitude and admiration to sorrow and reflection.

Wesley Dunn is Wes Dunn’s Uncle and namesake and another example of how deep the families’ roots are in the community.

The Dunn family is honored to have Wesley remembered with all the other ‘Fallen Heroes.” It is a testament to the courage and sacrifice of all of the World War II veterans and a powerful reminder to future generations of the importance of honoring their service.