A memorial to an Irish American priest who comforted dying soldiers and gave his life during World War II will be unveiled on Veterans Day.
On Nov. 11, 2019, American Legion Post 118 (89-02 91st St.) will honor Father Lawrence Edward Lynch with a plaque highlighting his life and service. The ceremony will begin around 11 am, QNS.com reports.
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Lynch was born on October 17, 1906, the oldest of 12 children, to a fireman and his wife who emigrated from Co Cavan in Ireland. He served as an altar boy at the Catholic Church of Saint Sylvester in Brooklyn. He was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Order in 1931.
According to HonorStates.org, he enlisted in the Army Chaplin Corps in September 1941 and went overseas in December 1943.
When he was assigned to the 69th Infantry Regiment, he replaced the famous Father Duffy, who was immortalized on film by Pat O’Brien in “The Fighting 69th.”
Lynch, who was affectionately known to his men as “Father Cyclone,” took extraordinary measures during the war to help soldiers, amNew York reports.
The priest ignored military orders and jumped on a sinking ship to reach men who were dying. When comforting a mortally wounded Jewish soldier, he shared a prayer in Hebrew.
Lynch received five citations for bravery during the war.
Lynch was killed on April 25, 1945, while helping others during the Battle of Okinawa. He was only 38 years old.
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A piece of land near the border of Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Brooklyn was set aside as a memorial to Lynch, and on October 8, 1949, a triangle at Atlantic Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard was dedicated in his honor.
Over time, the sign disappeared and Father Lawrence Edward Lynch was largely forgotten. On March 9, 2019, the triangle was rededicated in his name.
Now on Veterans Day, American Legion Post 118 will unveil a plaque in his honor.