Ceremony honors vet
June 6, 2012 2:16PM
George Schmitz gets medals pinned on by U.S. Navy Lt. Commaner Mike Favata at a special Memorial Day celebration held at Willow Falls Senior Living Community in Crest Hill. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:27AM
A special Memorial Day celebration was held at Willow Falls Senior Living Community in Crest Hill in honor of resident George Schmitz, a World War II veteran.
At this special event, Schmitz was surprised with medals he had never received. Guest speaker U.S. Naval Lt. Cmdr. Mike Favata presented Schmitz with the following medals: Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, Philippines Liberation Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. Another guest speaker was Crest Hill’s own Mayor Ray Soliman.
There was a gun salute, music and a reading of the names of all the community veterans and/or spouses. And this year, the presentation of medals to a very deserving veteran made it even more memorable. This year’s Memorial Day ceremony drew a large crowd from the Senior Living Community.
Schmitz enlisted in 1942 and served as a gunners mate on a battle cruiser, the U.S.S. Guam. While serving, he was in charge of getting ammunition to the guns and had he had a crew of men that he trained to complete this mission.
Flag day event
A Flag Day ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. June 14 at Joliet Elks Lodge 296, 250 S.E. Frontage Road in Joliet. The ceremony is open to the public.
Elks have always been moved by the flag of the United States of America, which is why, in 1907, Elks members adopted a resolution designating June 14 as Flag Day.
In 1911 the Grand Lodge mandated that all local Lodges observe Flag Day with appropriate ceremonies, making the Elks the first national fraternal organization to require the observance of the flag.
The Elks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the national observance. However, it was not until 1949 that it was made a national day of observance by another Elk, President Harry S. Truman.
June 13 marks the first anniversary of Direct Burial Program held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Since being established, there have been 43 ceremonies and 81 veterans honored.
The Memorial Squad has held Mass honors for 165 direct burial veterans at their quarterly ceremonies. This totals 246 direct burial veterans. They are trying to provide individual honors to those direct burial veterans. Thirty of the veterans have been homeless and all of them have been buried through Dignity Memorial. They deserve a special thanks from the veteran community.
Flag retirement ceremony
Boy Scout Troop 49 of New Lenox will be conducting a flag retirement ceremony from 7-8:30 p.m. June 25 at VFW Post 9545, 323 Old Hickory Road in New Lenox.
People wishing to properly dispose of old, worn-out American flags may drop them off at the VFW between now and June 25. You may include a brief statement describing the origin of your flag, where it was flown, etc. Be sure the statement is securely fastened to your flag. You may witness the ceremony June 25 at the VFW. Call 815-462-1705 with any questions.
Jean Edwards is looking for veterans to write about in this column. She can be reached at 815-773-7172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.