June 6, 1944, D-Day and the invasion of Normandy have become a personal issue with me, as my late husband and brother both fought in World War II. I have felt that it is the responsibility of my generation to continue to honor, remind and educate those who did not live through that era, of the patriotism, bravery, and sacrifice of our Greatest Generation.
I recall in the 50s, crowds would gather to celebrate and honor these veterans. Today few are alive to be present at a ceremony, and even fewer to be remembered.
For this reason, I invited local residents and public officials to a small D-Day event at Chouteau Township Hall on June 6 at 5:30 p.m. Guests recalled family stories of their loved ones in WW II, while younger veterans who were present spoke of recent tours of duty.
Leigh Knogl spoke of her grandfather and the difficulty and pain he had in expressing events of that war. She mentioned her father who would talk very little of his tour in Vietnam. Eddie Lee told of hearing stories of his grandfather.
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In attendance were Supervisor, Eddie Lee; Township Clerk, Carol Meyer; Gulf War Medic, Brenda Meyer; Veterans Outreach Coordinator from Congressman Bost’s office, Steve Russell; Director MESD, Steve Adler (representing County Board Chairman, Kurt Prenzler); Nameoki Township Supervisor, Randy Presswood; Pontoon Village Mayor, Mike Pagano with Trustees, Chris Hankins, Bev Hopper and Linda McFarland.
I thank you all,
Helen Hawkins, Granite City