Last World War II Medal of Honor recipient honored

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday, June 30, requested that all flags be flown at half-staff to honor an American hero, Hershel “Woody” Williams, the nation’s last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient. 

The governor’s office said in a news release that Mr. Williams “demonstrated bravery and service to his country beyond measure” when he served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division. 

Mr. Williams was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 5, 1945, by President Harry S. Truman for his “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective.”

When Mr. Williams returned home, his service to his nation continued as a veterans service representative with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and as the commandant of the veterans home in Barboursville, W. Va.

He also founded the Woody Williams Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting Gold Star Families. 

Illinois is the recipient of his generosity with one of the 103 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in Naperville, and two other planned monuments in Springfield and Great Lakes.

The governor’s office stated that Mr. Williams “exemplified one of the greatest generations of military men and women and is an example of selfless commitment to others: his fellow men in combat, veterans returning home needing support, veterans needing a home and care and families who suffer the greatest sacrifice of a loved one. We are grateful for his service and will not forget his heroism and all he gave for this nation.”

A member of the nation’s armed forces from Union County who served during World War II also was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The late Clyde L. Choate of Anna was presented with the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while serving with the U.S. Army in France. Mr. Choate died in 2001.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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