Clark, NJ – A special recognition to World War II Private Charles Bitsko was held during the 14th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday, May 26. Bitsko, one of Clark’s fallen heroes, died in the line of duty on November 11, 1943 while serving on the USS General G. O. Squier. Bitsko’s family attended the ceremony to commemorate the dedication of Charles Street in his honor.
Private Charles Bitsko enlisted in the United States Army on October 13, 1942. He was one of four Bitsko brothers to do so, and the only one who did not return home from war. Charles made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life in service to his country.
Bitsko was originally laid to rest in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. His remains were then moved to Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery in Hawaii. After the war, Bitsko’s mother was asked if she would like her son buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. She requested, instead, that he be returned to Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, New Jersey so that his final resting place would be nearer to his family.
Jennie Gollas, Bitsko’s now 85 year old sister, was only 12 when her brother died. In an interview, she spoke proudly of her brother. “He gave his life for his country, like many men did,” she said.
Bitsko’s first honor came in 1944, shortly after his death, when a bridge close to his unit’s camp in the South Pacific was named for him. Now a gold-star street in Clark bears his name.
Bitsko’s sister Jennie, his nephew Bob Gollas, his great-nieces Melissa Munnings and Julie Gollas, and great grandniece Michaela Munnings attended the ceremony to accept a commemorative street sign in the hero’s honor.