Watch a Belleville WWII veteran react to receiving a handmade quilt from community
On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, local residents paid special attention to a Belleville veteran from the Second World War.
Fred Bruss, 94, was wrapped in a handmade, red, white and blue quilt at the end of the Veterans Day Ceremony Sunday at Belleville City Hall.
It was a “quilt of valor,” which volunteers across the country make to thank veterans and to bring them comfort.
Bruss served in the Air Force during World War II, flying 60 combat missions, according to Barbara Sweet, a Belleville native who helped make his quilt.
When he came home, Bruss worked for the Belleville Fire Department, retiring as chief after 30 years.
“Thirty years he helped us after coming back from serving in World War II,” Sweet said.
The Veterans Day event also honored active-duty military personnel, such as Pfc. Rachel Wilde, who is new to the Marine Corps, according to Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert.
“To the young people here and those who are brand new, and to that young Marine, who I understand just got out of her training just this past week, we applaud you for signing up and raising your hand and saying ‘I want to help our country,’” Eckert said.
Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, of Scott Air Force Base, who spoke during the event, said the military today has the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War. Almost half of those serving are between 22 and 30 years old, according to Farmen.
Eckert said he planned to call his son, an Army surgeon at Fort Lewis in Washington, after the ceremony to thank him for his service, and he encouraged the audience to do the same for the veterans they know.
Upcoming event for veterans
▪ Annual Veterans Day Program — 11 a.m. Monday. Veterans Monument, 737 East Wesley Drive, O’Fallon. Includes recognition of new inscriptions to the monument, a flag raising ceremony, participation from fifth-grade music classes from O’Fallon District 90, St. Clare School Chorus, the O’Fallon Township High School AFJ ROTC Program and more. Featured Guest: Major General John C. Flourney Jr., Chief of Staff, US TRANSCOM. ofallonveteransmonument.org.