Smith Senior Living will host a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 6, to honor WWII vets residing at Smith Crossing in Orland Park and its sister community Smith Village in Chicago and other veterans from the area on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The event will include a color guard ceremony and take place at Smith Crossing, 10501 Emilie Lane in Orland Park.
A pivotal point in World War II history, D-Day signaled the start of the Normandy Invasion, which involved the world’s largest amphibious attack ever by U.S. and allied forces into Western Europe against the French front of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Distinguished veterans will be acknowledged with brief remarks given by Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin and Will County executive Larry Walsh as well as a number of World War II veterans, who will share their reflections. All vets in attendance will receive pins commemorating their service and be treated to a light lunch with their guests while viewing a slide show of authentic World War II era snapshots.
Smith Village resident Cliff Hullinger, 93, will share recollections of serving in North Africa and Italy as a sergeant with the Army’s 109th Engineer Battalion. He appreciates the price of freedom, having watched a dozen of his men die while laying mines in Algiers and having spent an entire winter pinned down in a foxhole in Cassino, Italy.
Smith Crossing resident Bernie Nash, 92, will recall dive-bombing missions during World War II targeting German submarines. He continued with the Navy after the war ended, achieving the rank of two-star rear admiral. He later helped to establish the Agency of Aging, conceived the nation’s first foster grandparent programs and served as an executive director for AARP. The National Association of Social Workers regards him as a pioneer in the field of social work.
This event also will include a display of authentic World War II military vehicles: a Red Cross ambulance and a “General Purpose vehicle,” later known as a “jeep.” The vehicles are provided through the efforts of Doug and Tyler Mayhall and Jim Perry, members of the Military Vehicles Preservation Association (MVPA).
For more information and to make reservations for the complimentary luncheon, call Smith Crossing at 708-326-2300.
—Submitted by Smith Senior Living