Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medal Part of Freedom Celebration

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medal Part of Freedom Celebration

Article excerpt

The Rev. Emmett Meek of Rochester, Ind., fell through a military crack during World War II. Meek didn't receive a medal to which he was entitled.

The former Marine colonel lost the sight of one eye in August 1942 at Guadalcanal, which qualified him for the Purple Heart. The medal is awarded by the U.S. Armed Forces to servicemen wounded in action.

Meek, 78, will receive the long overdue recognition at the 10:45 a.m. worship service Sunday at Harvester Church of the Nazarene in St. Peters. The ceremony will be part of the church's annual Fall Freedom Celebration set for 9 and 10:45 a.m. The event will commemorate religious freedom and will honor those who served their country. The program will include patriotic music, historic military re-enactments and a multi-media presentation of sights and sounds of America. Costumed soldiers will represent American wars from the Revolution to Desert Storm. A representative of each branch of service will be present, including a Marine officer who will present the heart-shaped medallion to Meek along with a letter of congratulations from Gov. Evan Bayh of Indiana. Meek's daughter, Ruth Schaper of St. Peters, is a member of the church. Schaper enlisted the help of Indiana state senators and the Marines in her effort to get the medal to her father. A military surplus store in St. Peters ordered the medal. Meek, who is a retired Church of God Holiness minister, was given the honorable service button, a recommendation for a good conduct medal and a presidential testimonial when he was discharged from the Marines. Schaper, 43, had no idea her father hadn't received his Purple Heart until recently. "Even though he is a very vocal person, my father never spoke about his war experiences," Schaper said. "The presentation will be a surprise. I feel sure receiving the medal will be an emotional and gratifying experience for him. …

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