Seminole County, Oklahoma
If you have a Seminole County Veteran or family member who has served, or is currently in the service, I would like to acknowledge them on this page.
Veterans of Seminole County: Even heroes dieMost WWII vets already gone BY JERRY SCHWARTZ of The Associated Press --------------------------------------------------------------------------------John R. Crews kept his past in an old cedar chest. He didn't visit it much; mostly, he lived in the here and now, a churchgoing man who worked as a plant foreman and raised four kids. But each Memorial Day, he would reach into that chest and retrieve ribbon and metal, mementos of his bravery a half-century ago, when he was a young man. There was a Purple Heart, Silver and Bronze Stars, and a golden star, rarest of all, emblazoned with a single world: "Valor." And then, with that Medal of Honor dangling from his neck, he would lay a wreath for all those who did not come back from war. This year, when the roll of Oklahoma's war dead is read, John Crews will not be there to hear it. He died of a heart attack Sept. 25. He was 78. His obituary appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, in newspapers far from Bowlegs, Okla., where he grew up. He was, after all, the recipient of the nation's greatest honor. Jon Crews remembers being 6 or 7 when some old Army buddies came to visit his father, and from their conversation he caught glimpses of the heroism John Crews had never discussed. In April 1945, near Lobenbacherhof, Germany, Staff Sgt. Crews and two others stormed an enemy stronghold. One man was killed and the other seriously wounded. Crews pressed on alone. At point-blank range, he killed two Germans who were firing a machine gun. Then he wrested a rifle from another. And then, though badly wounded in the thigh, he attacked an automatic rifle placement. Seven of the enemy were so unnerved that they surrendered, while others fled. "I know he thought about it virtually every day," says another son, Mark. He came back a changed man -- quieter, more devout in his Southern Baptist faith. He didn't want disability pay for his war injury. It was a stigma. He wanted to make his way in the world. If he talked more about the war in his later years, it was because his 13 grandchildren asked him to, and, well, grandchildren always get their way. He left another legacy: His son Mark is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and teaches at the Air Force Academy. He knows that he was inspired by his modest, heroic father. "I always felt like Dad was a real hero," he says. "People are always looking for heroes, and I had one in my own home." Submitted by: firstname.lastname@example.org (JackFlak)
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