Carl A. Spaatz, four-star general and Boyertown native son, was one of the architects of the modern U.S. military and played a major role in winning World War II for the Allies.That's why he deserves the memorial plaque that will be erected in his honor this Saturday, say members of the Carl A. Spaatz Memorial Association.
The Spaatz Memorial Association and community group Building a Better Boyertown will unveil the plaque at 2:30 p.m., June 28, on the anniversary of the general's birth. The plaque's location at 41 East Philadelphia Avenue was Spaatz's birthplace andformerly housed a local newspaper owned by his parents, said Mayor Marianne Deery.
"He lived some of his childhood in that location," Deery said.
The Spaatz Memorial Association and member Tom Farmer donated the money for the plaque, which will consist of a bronze slate.
From his beginnings in Boyertown, Spaatz went on to an illustrious military career. He is credited with developing midair refueling for planes, said Deery, as well as beginning the modern U.S. airforce.
"He was the one who started air-to-air refueling in 1929," said Harry Yoder, president of the Spaatz Memorial Association.
Yoder, who served under Spaatz, said that the general "defeated the Nazis" by establishing air superiority during World War II. On the Pacific front, Spaatz supervised the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, said Yoder.
Spaatz was also the only man to represent the United States at each one of the armistice signings ending World War II, said Deery.
According to Farmer, the memorial is a local intiative. In planning the plaque, the Spaatz Memorial Association researched the general's life and questioned members of his family.
Although a memorial to Spaatz already stands at the intersection of Route 562 and Second Street, Deery hopes that the new plaque will help call attention to the community's downtown.
"We're a main street community. We're working on revitalizing the community That means bringing people into the town," said Deery.
As a member of Building a Better Boyertown, Farmer agrees.
"This is something that people walking on the street can see and think, 'This is where General Spaatz lived,'" he said.
According to Deery, the plaque is one of several efforts to honor Spaatz.