Two veterans in their 90s to host Flag Day event June 14 in Westmont
Two grand veterans -- one zealous about the U.S. flag and the other an accomplished presenter -- are teaming up to host a patriotic and inspirational Flag Day event with as much bang and beauty as the Fourth of July!
The event named, "More than Just a Piece of Cloth," in honor of a poem by the same title, will celebrate and honor Old Glory with a speech, video clips, songs, poem reading and a flag-folding demonstration on Flag Day. The program will begin at 3 p.m. Monday, June 14, at Aspired Living of Westmont, 407 W. 63rd St.
"It's a wonderful feeling to see the flag waving in the air and flying above," says Don Shee, who served in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 gunner in England during World War II. The 95-year-old sees the flag as a unifying force. "As American citizens the flag represents freedom and is a symbol that we can all respect."
U.S. Marine Corp veteran Phil Beluscheck, who served during the Korean War, shares Don's passion for the flag. The 91-year-old is an avid lifelong learner and star presenter who earned his stripes as a top speaker when he recently gave his 50th presentation! Aptly, Phil is giving the key address, "You're a Grand Old Flag."
"I am curious about everything!' says Beluscheck, whose spends up to 15 hours preparing for each presentation on topics running the gamut from the Wright brothers (his personal favorite) to "Escape from Alcatraz" to Mark Twain and now the U.S. Flag. A little-known fact he will present is that the tallest flagpole in North America stands 400 feet tall and flies a 60-feet-wide by 120-feet long American flag. It can be found at Acuity Insurance headquarters along I-43 between Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin. His Flag Day presentation is filled with nuggets of interesting facts like this and lots of other information and history about the flag.
Promoting the U.S. flag to inspire patriotism became a priority to Shee about 10 years ago when he planted flags in the parkway of his Downers Grove neighborhood. With the help of neighbors, he covered about three city blocks.
A few years later, Shee spearheaded a campaign dubbed Operation COLORS to help fill the void where Gideon Bibles were being removed from hotel bed stands. Working with the Downers Grove Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 503, he put together a Welcome Traveler packet with a small American flag and a verse by Scottie-ann Murphy entitled, "More Than Just a Piece of Cloth."
Aspired Living of Westmont offers independent living, assisted living and A Knew Day Memory Support. For more information, call (630) 283-8755 or visit www.aspiredlivingwestmont.com.
Founded in 1997, Pathway to Living is a Chicago-based developer, owner and operator of seniors housing. The company's portfolio includes a wide range of community types -- seniors apartments, independent living, assisted living and memory support -- spanning 21 properties (including communities under development) in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida. Pathway to Living is owned by Waterton, a Chicago-based real estate investor and operator with real estate assets under management totaling $6.0 billion as of Sept. 30, 2020. For more information, visit www.pathwaytoliving.com and www.waterton.com.