As an Army veteran of World War II and a prisoner of war himself, Glenn Maddy has witnessed the pomp, parades, and other forms of recognition for U.S. veterans who fought in wars all over the globe.
But through all the years of memorials and services, he’s noticed one group that hasn’t received the recognition it deserves – surviving family members of those who made the supreme sacrifice and didn’t return.
As the guest speaker at a ceremony set for July 31 at Williams Park in the Village of Gibsonburg, Maddy, a retired Sandusky County agriculture agent, will focus his remarks on those families.
“There has always been a lot of recognition of folks who came back like me,” he said last week. “But for the families of servicemen who were killed in combat, they’ve never been adequately recognized in my opinion.”
The day Maddy was captured in January, 1945 nine other soldiers in his unit were killed and he often thinks of the effect their deaths had on their families.
One of the worst days of the war for his parents was January 23, 1945 – the day they received the telegram informing them their teenage son was listed as missing in action.
“A cousin was staying at our house that day and she said later it was just horrible for them,” he said.
The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the village’s Veterans Memorial Wall.
A folding of the Rodger Young interment flag will follow Maddy’s remarks.
Young was born in Tiffin in 1918 and lived in Green Springs and Clyde.
In July, 1943, his squad was pinned down by a Japanese machine gun nest protecting an airstrip on New Guinea. Despite being wounded by the initial burst of fire, he crept close enough to the nest to throw hand grenades at it before being hit again and killed.
His heroic actions allowed his squad to withdraw with no additional losses while inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor in January, 1944 and his actions were commemorated by Frank Loesser, who wrote “The Ballad of Rodger Young.”
The Northcoast Veterans Museum will host a flag retirement ceremony at 3 p.m. and the museum will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.