As we approach Veterans Day of 2018 it is important to remember that this observance was originally known as “Armistice Day”, when hostilities during World War I ended on the “11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918, 100 years ago this Sunday.
Involved in those hostilities from Plano was Leon S. Burson, a soldier fighting for the Allies.
The U.S. entered World War I on April 6th, 1917, following President Wilson’s urgent request for Congress to declare war on the Central Powers.
Leon Burson was stationed in the northeast of France, near Metz, in the region of Alsace-Lorraine, near both the Luxembourg and German borders.
Burson, who was 27 years of age at the time, was killed in action on August 14th and was buried in one of the American-French cemeteries in Vaux.
He was just three months shy of the Armistice being declared and coming home.
In 1919 the Plano American Legion was formed and they named the legion building in Burson's honor.
Little would Plano know that Leon’s nephew, Douglas, who was born in 1916, would follow a similar fate to that of his uncle Leon.
Douglas entered the military in late June of 1941, about five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into World War II. Douglas landed in Europe of 1944 and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
Coincidentally, Douglas Burson served in the area of Metz, France, where his Uncle Leon had served in the first World War. Word came in that Lieutenant Douglas L. Burson, 28 years of age, had been killed in action March 18th, of 1945 during the drive for the Rhine.
Sadly, Douglas Burson just missed, by less than two months, VE-Day, on May 8th of 1945, when hostilities for World War II ended in Europe.
Just a mere 27 years separated the deaths of Leon and Douglas Burson of Plano.