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First Plaque On Memorial Wall In Veterans Park Honors S/Sgt. Curtis Shoup

From Feb. 29, 2000

A plaque honoring S/Sgt. Curtis Shoup will greet visitors to the Veteran’s Memorial Park, West Linear Parkway, thanks to the Oswego Common Council.

The council Monday night unanimously passed a resolution enabling the Oswego Veterans Council to install a memorial bronze plaque in recognition of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Leading his squad near the village of Tillet, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Shoup was struck by enemy machine gun fire.

Although seriously wounded, he advanced and destroyed the machine gun nest with a hand grenade. With total disregard for his own life, he attempted to destroy a second machine gun nest when he was mortally wounded.

A son of Scriba, and a graduate of Oswego High School, his luminous heroism and sacrifice will be remembered forever, according to the Veterans Council.

Shoup, who is buried in the North Scriba Union Cemetery, is one of three Congressional Medal of Honor winners from Oswego County, according to Fred Crisafulli, Oswego Tourism Director, who helped the veterans get the resolution passed by the council.

The plaque honoring Shoup will be placed on the existing wall area fronting the fountain at the park.

Crisafulli noted that proposals will likely be made in the future to add plaques to that same wall area, recognizing the other two heroes.

Shoup is to be honored on Memorial Day with a publicly funded monument unveiled by fellow soldiers and representatives of the city.

From May 30, 2000

The first plaque on the Memorial Wall in Veterans Memorial Park was unveiled Monday.

Staff Sergeant Curtis F. Shoup’s sister Ruth Arata, from Massachusetts, was on hand Memorial Day to unveil the memorial to the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

The ceremony took place immediately following the Memorial Day services honoring all veterans.

A 21-gun salute punctuated the importance of the observance.

A lone bugler played “Taps” to conclude the ceremony.

The Veterans Council of Oswego sponsored the activities and VFW 2320 was the host post.

Taking part in the ceremonies were a variety of city and county officials, as well as members of Shoup’s family: Lori Arata, Curtis Arata, Fred Arata and Ruth Arata

The Snowbelters barbershop singers opened the ceremony by singing the National Anthem.

Memorial Day, Mayor John Gosek said, reminds people that the freedoms we enjoy actually came at a very high price.

Oswego Common Council President Bill Mercier read a proclamation from Gov. George Pataki proclaiming May 29 as Empire State Memorial Day.

“When we, the living, fulfill our commitment as citizens of this country, we make America a living memorial” to the veterans who made the supreme sacrifice, according to George Hoffman, master of ceremonies.

“Don’t forget those who have died for our freedom,” he said. “Let’s make sure that Memorial Day does not lose its meaning.”

Hoffman introduced the guest speaker, Brigadier General Ravindra Shah, a former commander of the 174th Fighter Wing out of Syracuse.

“My fellow Americans, it is a great privilege for me to be present here today to offer homage to the Americans who sacrificed their lives for preserving the Constitution,” Shah said.

Thanks to their sacrifice, he said, America truly is a nation that stands for “life, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Look at me,” he exclaimed. “I am not of European decent.”

His form of religion is also different than most Americans’, he pointed out.

Yet, he said, he was privilege to address the crowd on the solemn occasion of Memorial Day.

“And, I am honored to be a general in the United States of America Air Force,” he added.

The system works, he pointed out, because of the brave people who were willing to sacrifice their lives to protect it.

There are foreign and domestic enemies to democracy, he explained. He pointed to the assassinations of American presidents as an example of domestic enemies.

Enemies, foreign and domestic, must be eliminated before they can establish roots, he warned.

Discrimination against people because of sex, the color of their skin, religion, and other reasons must also be stopped, he said.

Everyone in America is equal, he said.

“The hand that rocks the cradle,” he said, “can also rule the nation.”

“Our daughters deserve the same opportunities for education, employment and success that we offer to our sons,” he continued.

It had been assumed that since Shoup’s father was a Baptist minister in a Buffalo suburb, that he was from the Buffalo area.

Mitch Kaidy, an Army friend of Shoup’s who went on to become a successful journalist,. wrote to a Buffalo News columnist in 1996, trying to learn more about Shoup.

From the public response to his inquiry, he discovered Shoup’s father had been the pastor at the North Scriba Baptist Church. And, Shoup graduated from Oswego High School.

Kaidy is a member of the 87th Infantry Division Committee. The group is spearheading a movement to properly honor Shoup.

Kaidy read a letter about Shoup from Sen. Bob Dole.

His thoughts were with those in Oswego as they dedicated the memorial to Shoup, Dole wrote. He called Shoup “a true World War II hero.”

Shoup’s actions, which earned him our nation’s highest military award, must never be forgotten, Dole wrote.

The veterans of World War II helped save the world, according to Dole.

“I ask that as you honor one of your own, you take time to remember all those citizens who served with pride and honor during the war,” Dole asked.

Kaidy asked that all 87th Division veterans in the audience stand. When they did, they received a hearty ovation from the rest of the crowd.

Shoup’s family members were also recognized in the same manner.

Crisafulli then escorted Ruth and Curtis Arata to the Memorial Wall where the plaque was officially unveiled.

The plaque reads:

Curtis F. Shoup

Congressional Medal of Honor

Pinned down by mortar and machine gun fire in the village of Tillet, near Bastogne, Belgium, January 7, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, S/Sgt. Curtis F. Shoup of Co. I, 346th Infantry Regiment, 87th (Golden Acorn) Division seized an automatic rifle, crouched and began delivering well-aimed fire at an enemy machine gun.

He was struck in both legs by return fire and knocked down. Although seriously wounded, he crept and crawled alone in deep snow and threw a hand grenade, destroying the machine gun nest. With total disregard for his own life, he was crawling and attempting to knock out a second machine gun when he was mortally wounded.

Inspired by his actions, Company I drove on and captured its critical objective. For his extraordinary valor and intrepidity, Sgt. Shoup was award the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Military Medal of Great Britain, the Croiz du Guerre with Palm of France, the Order of Leopold of Belgium, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

A son of Scriba, N.Y., and a graduate of Oswego High School, his luminous heroism and sacrifice for his country will be remembered forever.

S/Sgt. Shoup is buried in the North Scriba Union Cemetery.

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