VMH honors WWII vets this weekend

By Shane Nicholson
Managing Editor

Some of World War II’s most storied service members will be honored during a series of special Veterans Memorial Hall (VMH) events.

Beginning Saturday, members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen as well as a special guest from the Army 761st Tank Unit will share stories with the public about their military service.

The Tuskegee Airmen were America’s first black military airmen. Over 350 of the Tuskegee, Alabama-based enlisted men were deployed in Europe for combat duty, flying over 1267 missions with 15th Air Force.

The 761st Tank Unit, also known as the “Black Panthers,” was the first black tank batallion of World War II. Remembered for helping break the Siegfried Line on the Western Front late in 1944, the 761st crossed the continent from France to Austria during their time in combat.

Rockford resident Thomas Jarrett will be on hand to represent the 761st.

On Sunday veterans of the Montford Point Marines will be honored as members of the Chicago Chapter of the first black recruits to the Marine Corps will share their stories and answer questions.

“This is our seventh year hosting these events,” says Scott Lewandowski, Manager of VMH. “The community response has always been good and we hope this year is another success.”

Both Saturday and Sunday’s programs begin at 1 p.m. Doors open at noon.

Tickets are $5 for adults and admission is free to students with ID and seniors 65 and older.

“It’s important for citizens to remember and honor these men who served,” Lewandowski added.

For more information visit veteransmemorialhall.com or call 815-969-1999.

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