HIGHLANDS, NJ - A video and talk highlighting heroic actions of some of the 13 men from this borough who died in action during World War II will be featured at Thursday’s (June 23) meeting of the Highlands Historical Society. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Wilson Community Center, Snug Harbor ave., and is open to the public.
Local historian Walter Guenther, a fifth generation resident of the borough, will make a presentation highlighting some of the information he has uncovered in months of research on the names listed on the World War II memorial located in Veterans Park. For many years the memorial stood in Huddy Park before the move to the Bay avenue park.
Guenther, whose father and uncles all served in World War II, said he has been impressed with the biographies he has uncovered about the Highlands military and believes they are “exactly what Highlands is itself. None of the men was an officer; they were all just hardworking, sincere, dedicated men. They ranged in enlisted ranks in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard, and ranged in age during the war from 19 to their mid-30s.
Guenther’s talk and accompanying photos will include the story of at least one Highlands hero from the war, a man who earned the Bronze Star and was recognized by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal for his bravery on the USS Sculpin, the submarine that itself was lost during the war, But not before racking up an impressive history in battle. He will also have photos from the war as well as photos of the men and their families during their lifetime in Highlands. His talk will also include information about at least one mother who lost two sons during the War and whose family is still highly regarded and respected in the borough.
Guenther is also asking anyone with any information to help him research information on four Highlands men who served in the war but for whom he has not yet uncovered any records.
John M. Greene, Kenneth Furey, John Ryan and Leroy Smith are listed among the deceased military honored on the memorial, Guenther said, but to date he has not been able to learn much about either their lives in the borough or their service in the military. Anyone with any information about any of the men, or any contact with their families, can meet with Guenther at the Society meeting, or contact him at email@example.com.