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Roseville remembers Alyn Butler at gravesite

Memorial honors only local boy killed in World War I
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville's only battlefield casualty in World War I was honored Wednesday during a memorial ceremony exactly 94 years after his death.

The event took place at the gravesite of Alyn Butler in the Roseville Cemetery on Berry Street to honor the man who died at 19 years old in 1918. The ceremony also served as an opportunity for his family and members of American Legion Alyn W. Butler Post 169 to share his story.

During the last week of May, his great-nephew Harry Butler walked Vernon Street at lunchtime and asked about 50 people if they knew of Butler - no one did.

"I too didn't know who Alyn Butler was," Roseville Mayor Pauline Roccucci said at the ceremony. "I'm glad to be here to get to know the family and that young man who gave his life in World War I."

Roccucci said he will be remembered for having the spirit and courage to serve his country. Gen. Robert Hipwell, of Granite Bay, reflected on Butler's life history.

Born in Penryn in 1898, Butler moved to Roseville with his mother in 1906. He graduated from Roseville High School and got a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He enlisted in the United States Army two months before his 20th birthday in 1918.

He was killed three weeks after arriving in France in a battle against the Germans in September 1918. Two months later, the armistice was signed and the war ended on the 11th day of the 11th month. Butler was one of an estimated 320,000 American casualties of the war.

The local post of the American Legion changed its name in 1922 to honor the fallen hero. The U.S. military returned Butler's remains to Roseville in 1939 for burial with full military honors.

During Wednesday's ceremony, Roccucci, Hipwell and Harry Butler placed a wreath at Butler's tombstone to the bugle sounds of "Taps," performed by Jim Berg. Before the salute, Harry Butler thanked the guests for keeping the memory of his great uncle alive.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.