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HERO STREET U.S.A.
U.S. ARMED FORCES

During the 1930’s people of Mexican descendants came to the Midwest and settled in a small town called Silvis in Illinois, with a population of 6900. They settled in a residential area, which was owned by the Rock Island Railroad Line. Because of the company’s constant need to maintain the railroads it was a necessity that the workers lived near by. Official’s set aside plots of land where make –shift boxcars were available to rent tax-free which were provided to serve as home for the families.

It was important that the residents bring up their children to seek a better life than to undergo the hardship as they did. The idea of survival was imperative in the minds of the residents, so much that those hardships strengthened the resolve of the children to seek a better life.

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The families were large, in some cases as many as twelve per family. The boys and girls of Second Street were seeking a better way of life than their parents. Thus when the call to serve their country came during WWII, the young men and women heard the call and volunteered to join the Navy, Marines or Air Corps or were drafted into the Army. They were ready to fight for their country to preserve all the freedom of our great nation.

It has been documented that as of the present day there have been over 100 young men and women from Second Street who have given service to the Untied States Military Forces. It had been researched and documented by The Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. that (there is no other street of comparable size) that has had as many men and women render service to the Armed Forces of the United States of America than the 1 1/2 block long street in Silvis, Illinois. Of these 100 or more Military men and women, six of them were killed in action during WWII and two during the Korean War.

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Because of the contributions of these young American the street was renamed Hero Street USA in May 1967, by former Mayor of Silvis, William Tatmen. On 30 October 1971 a city park was built and dedicated as Hero Street Park in honor of the eight deceased service men from Hero Street USA. The park contains a pictorial monument a Grotto, a playground and a Pavilion. The monument contains pictures and biographies of the eight-deceased veterans from Hero Street, the grotto displays the names of all war dead from Silvis.

The challenge of undertaking such as enormous task, of building a monument, working with relative’s benefactors and supporters from the local community has been an overwhelming job. From east to west the story of this street has been told and will continue to be told as we go forward with the worthy project.

Stories have been written, documentary films and presentations have been given on the lives of the people who settled in Silvis. Parents of the children shared the stories of the hardships and suffering but surprisingly developed a character and strong will to succeed. Now their children are now veterans and tell their children of their experiences in the Armed Forces during World War II and the Korean War.

In January of 1993, a group of men and women gathered at Ybarra-Gomes VDW Post# 8890 in East Moline Illinois to propose the building of a lasting granite and bronze monument to be placed in the park on Hero Street USA. The Hero Street Monument Committee that was comprised of relatives and friends was formed and committed themselves to oversee this project.

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Just as the sunken ship “The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Vietnam and the Memorials in Washington, DC have their place of honor in American history, The Hero Street Monument will also serve as a tribute to all American veterans who have served proudly in the Military Forces of the United States of America. It will be just as meaningful as we pay homage to all those young men and women who answered the call to defend their country, shed their blood and paid the supreme sacrifice so that we may enjoy the rights and freedom that our country holds so dear.

The Monument will reflect the patriotic pride of Silvis, our surrounding communities, our State of Illinois and our Nation. In the annuals of American military history, the monument will symbolize the past, present and the future. Future generations will be able to see it and say, “Our forefathers had the insight to show us the value of what it means to be an American.”

IN THE ANNUALS OF MILITARY HISTORY NOWHERE IS THERE A STREET OF COMPARABLE SIZE THAT HAS CONTRIBUTED SO MANY SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY, AS HAVE THE PEOPLE OF HERO STREET USA. EIGHT OF THOSE GAVE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE.

Story Courtesy of HerostreetUSA.org — Photography By: Alfredo Perez

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