In the last two centuries, hundreds of Clarence citizens have served in the armed forces, and 48 of those individuals lost their lives in battles at home and abroad.
Now the Clarence High School Student Council, assisted by area veterans groups, is planning a tribute to those servicemen who died in conflicts ranging from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. A plaque inscribed with their names will be dedicated at the high school on May 28, this year's observance of Memorial Day.
Christine DiGaudio, the district's public information coordinator and a member of the school's remembrance planning committee, said she will have details on the dedication ceremony after the group's next meeting in April.
While many of the honorees are graduates of Clarence schools, the only necessary qualification for inclusion on the list is some tie or connection to Clarence.
"The plaque will be installed at the high school because it's usually young men and women who enter the armed services and die, and their last connection with the community is often the high school," she said.
Of the 48 dead, four were killed in the War of 1812 --- three while repelling the British invasion of Buffalo and one in the Battle of Fort Erie. Farther from home, 19 died in the Civil War, three in World War I, nine in World War II, three in the Korean War and 10 in Vietnam.
The list of war dead was compiled with information from American Legion Post 838 and the Clarence Historical Museum.
However, the committee is contacting families of Vietnam honorees to be certain that the list is complete.
Vietnam servicemen listed are: John Anderson, David K. Erenstoft, Brian Foley, J. Michael Hens, David J. Koehler, David Lassen, Robert H. Miller, Thomas J. Moore, Kevin O'Connell and Carl A. Paulino. Persons with corrections or additional information should call 759-0120.
Besides DiGaudio, members of the remembrance committee are: Thomas Coseo, superintendent of schools; Kevin Starr, teacher and Student Council adviser; and students Ashley Becker, Sarah Coseo, Eric Hoover, Laura King, Robert Mercurio and Derick Stalker.
Others are Al Bursetti, president, Chapter 77, Vietnam Veterans of America; David Errick, Clarence graduate and Vietnam veteran; Don Helmbrecht, commander, J. Michael Hens Post 7870, Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Al Tymm, commander, Post 838, American Legion.