Service members and relatives gathered in Holyoke Friday night to remember a Holyoke native killed in action 100 years ago.
Friday on National POW/MIA Remembrance Day, the refurbished painting of an Army Private who never returned home to Holyoke from WWI was unveiled.
100 years ago Army Private and Holyoke native George Clarke was listed as “missing in action.” Fallen on the battlefield in France in World War 1.
It was a conflict that would cost the lives of many a young man from Holyoke.
No other conflict has cost the city of Holyoke so dearly.
To remember Private Clarke, a VFW hall was named in his honor, and a portrait was commissioned. But sadly, the painting was damaged in a fire in the 1930’s.
V.K. Restoration brought the painting back to its former glory, with one of Clarke’s relatives there to witness it.
Clarke’s great-nephew said Private Clark had planned to make a home in Holyoke after the war.
“My great uncle had bought a house adjacent to his father’s, and I’m sure he was planning on moving in to it when he returned from Europe, and of course he didn’t get to do that, said Steve Clarke. “It’s gratifying to know there are people in the veteran community who are committed to remembering people like my uncle, who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
A POW/MIA chair was also dedicated in Private Clarke’s honor, representing a seat that can’t be filled by a service member who never made it home.
The painting will return to the George G. Clarke VFW post 801 to be hung.