West Unity WWII POW honored in graveside ceremony on Sunday

West Unity WWII POW honored in graveside ceremony on Sunday
Bronze plaque honoring Corp. Leroy Wyse Jr. (Source: WTOL)
Bronze plaque honoring Corp. Leroy Wyse Jr. (Source: WTOL)
Leroy W. Wyse Jr. (Source: Family)
Leroy W. Wyse Jr. (Source: Family)

WEST UNITY, OH (WTOL) - LeRoy Wilbur Wyse Junior is buried at the Floral Grove Cemetery in West Unity.

He is a World War II veteran, a man family members say was inspired to serve.

Members of the American Legion Bikers escorted the Wyse family into the graveyard.

They came for the unveiling of a bronze plaque at Junior's burial site honoring his brave service to our country.

The plaque was the idea of Steve Wyse, Junior's great nephew, who raised money for it.

"Junior's story is an amazing story of an American hero. People need to understand what he did and what a lot of our veterans do and the sacrifices they make," said Mr. Wyse.

Junior spent nearly three and a half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

During that time he was beaten, tortured, starved and treated as a slave.

"What he endured over there was unspeakable. But yet he said he held nothing against them because they were only following orders like he was following orders," said Junior's niece Bonnie Wyse Morgan.

The plaque ceremony included a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.

Mr. Wyse says Junior was inspired to serve his country.

He thinks if he were alive today, Junior would want others to serve in other ways too.

"Anything that makes this world a better place to live is service. Picking up trash along the road or working with young people, joining the Peace Corps, whatever it is that inspires you to serve," said Mr. Wyse.

After his discharge Junior returned to the West Unity area to farm.

Family members say he died at the young age of 27 in 1947 of natural causes related to his POW experience.

The plaque is a reminder to never forget those who fought and sacrificed to keep our country free.

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