William Eustis served as the personal secretary to General Pershing during the First World War.
Valentine B. Johnson served during World War I and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He was killed during the War and is memorialized on the WWI monument on the courthouse lawn. Sadly, he and his cousin, Sandy Johnson, as well as African American men across the country,were honored for their war service on monuments that segregate their names from the white soldiers who served. Despite fighting for their country, the war’s survivors returned home to segregated schools, restaurants, and other barriers that did not recognize them as equal citizens.
The World War I memorial plaque in Leesburg, which racially segregated the names of 30 black and white service members, will be replaced with an updated version Thursday on Veterans Day, according to Loudoun County officials.
A descendant of a person previously enslaved at Oatlands is listed on the current World War I memorial plaque on the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds. Valentine B. Johnson’s name is currently listed in the segregated section of the plaque for African American veterans. This will be corrected on Veteran’s Day with the dedication of a new plaque that does not segregate the veteran’s names.
Oatlands honors the service of Valentine B. Johnson and all veterans whose names have been segregated or unrecorded.
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