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Local heroes to be honored Dec. 3

Three local men who were Killed In Action or Missing In Action during combat in World War II will be honored at a Saturday, Dec. 3 Induction Ceremony hosted by the Pike County American Legion Family. The ceremony will honor Private First Class Ralph E. Bishop, Private Tilton C. Gooden and Staff Sergeant Joel M. Matthews at 10 a.m. at the Pike County School Auditorium on Highway 19 south in Zebulon. ’These three great Americans gave the ultimate sacrifice in combat during World War II,’ said Post 197 commander Bryan Richardson. ‘These three Inductees will join six others in the Memorial Annex, providing pieces of detailed American and Pike County history. These three Killed In Action heroes are currently listed on the Pike County Veteran’s Memorial on the courthouse square.’ Ralph Etheridge Bishop was born Feb. 17, 1926 and was Killed In Action the day after his birthday on Feb. 18, 1945. He was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army and was 19 years old. Tilton Calvin Gooden was born Oct. 1, 1924 and was Killed In Action Nov. 12, 1944. He was a Private in the U.S. Army and was 20 years old. Joel Morgan Matthews was born Dec. 24, 1915 and was declared Missing In Action Aug. 25, 1944. He was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and was 28 years old. During the ceremony, biographies will be read for each inductee, a POW/MIA special tribute will be given, a special topic on World War II – known as The Deadliest War – will be shared and a shadow box of each inductee will be unveiled. ’The Bishop, Gooden and Matthews families will be guests of honor and the Pike County community is invited to attend this ceremony in honor of these three heroes and their families, learn a little of Pike County history and better understand the magnitude of World War II on mankind,’ said Richardson. Dec. 3 will be proclaimed as Pike County Military Killed-in-Action Recognition Day. The American Legion Family inducts new members into the Pike County Memorial Annex each year and is made up of American Legion Post 197, Legion Auxiliary Unit 197 and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 197.

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