RUTHERFORD, NJ – Wheaton Place in Rutherford was renamed for the Leval brothers, siblings who all served in World War II, on Monday afternoon.
A plaque was permanently set in front of the family’s home on Memorial Day to honor Mark, Ernest, John Robert, Albert, Leon and Moses Jr.
When the war ended in 1945, a local paper printed: ‘Rutherford Mother ‘Prayerfully Jubilant’. All 6 of her sons were set to come home safely.
“One family supporting the war with six of its sons is unusual,” said Rutherford historian Rod Leith.
They were the only African American family in the country to have this many siblings serve in the war.
John Robert – the third eldest – was awarded a Purple Heart for his bravery in Italy.
Albert – the fourth eldest – became a church deacon. His grandson was overcome with emotion when remembering him during the ceremony.
“He was always committed to providing the best he could for his family,” said Keshon Burwell. “He worked two jobs for 20 years of his life.”
Many members of the Laval family flew from all across the country to be apart of the ceremony.
The military was segregated when the Laval brothers served in World War II.
When they returned home, there were no parades or plaques in their honor — but that changed today.
“All Rutherfordians owe these men a great debt of gratitude for their service to our country in a time of war,” said Rutherford Mayor Joseph DeSalvo.