Honoring Illinois’ fallen: Hershel “Woody” Williams, last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient

The American Flag, the Illinois Flag, and the Lansing Flag fly at the Lansing Firefighter's Memorial on Ridge Road. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

United States and Illinois flags at half-staff through sunset on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor JB Pritzker that all person or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in honor of:

  • Hershel W. “Woody” Williams

Please lower the United States flags and the State flags at all buildings occupied by your agency’s personnel until:

  • Sunset on Sunday, July 3, 2022

A statement from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs expanded on Mr. Williams’ contributions:

Governor JB Pritzker requested that all flags be flown at half-staff to honor an American hero, Hershel “Woody” Williams, the nation’s last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient. Woody demonstrated bravery and service to his country beyond measure as he served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division. Woody was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 5, 1945 by President Truman for his, “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective.”
When Woody returned home, his service to his nation continued as a Veterans Service Representative with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and as the Commandant of the Veterans Home in Barboursville, WV. Woody also founded the Woody Williams Foundation dedicated to supporting Gold Star Families. Illinois is the recipient of his generosity with one of the 103 Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Naperville, IL, and two other planned monuments in Springfield and Great Lakes.
Woody exemplified one of the greatest generations of military men and women and is an example of selfless commitment to others – his fellow men in combat – veterans returning home needing support – veterans needing a home and care – and families who suffer the greatest sacrifice of a loved one. We are grateful for his service and will not forget his heroism and all he gave for this nation.