BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 7-foot sculpture of a local war hero was unveiled Saturday on Grand Island. The community is honoring Private first class Charles DeGlopper, who gave his life in Normandy.
“It is absolutely right and fitting that we gather here today on Grand Island to celebrate one of our finest citizens. Of course recognizing despite the sincerity and depth of our tribute it can never be enough to honor the sacrifice of private first class DeGlopper,” said one of the speakers at Saturday’s event.
The life-sized sculpture was created by a Lewiston artist who says the goal was to capture his likeness as well as his heart.
Private first class DeGlopper was a grand island native who served in the u-s army. He died in the battle of Normandy in 1944. After his death, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor given by the United States military.
“Private first class DeGlopper’s actions single handedly saved one of the finest units in the American army for shear destruction by placing himself between friend and foe,” said First Lieutenant Adam Arata with the Charlie Company, 82nd Airborne Division.
Members of the US Army who serve today in what was DeGlopper’s division, continue to keep his memory strong and strive to live by his example.
“These paratroopers truly strive everyday to live up to the legacy left behind by Charles DeGlopper,” Arata said. “77 years later. The paratroopers of company C and the 325 still remember PFC DeGlopper and continue to hold the high standards set by him so long ago.”
Erik Anderson, who chairs the DeGlopper memorial expansion committee said Saturday’s ceremony acknowledges DeGlopper’s bravery in battle and for sacrificing himself to save his unit during the D-Day invasion. The statue is a gesture DeGlopper’s family is incredibly grateful for.
“The members of the DeGlopper and killed in action families would be forever indebted to this monumental effort put forth by the DeGlopper Memorial Expansion committee, with the support of our wonderful Grand Island committee, our heartful thanks to all of you. Thank you thank you and thank you again.”
The expanded DeGlopper memorial site also pays tribute to grand island residents who served or will serve in the military, those who served in the civil war, and all who were killed in action or are missing in action.
It took about 5 years of planning for this statue to be here and was donated mainly by Grand Islanders.