WWII vet surprised with flag from Capitol for his 100th birthday
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. (WSIL) — It was quite the birthday for a Franklin County man over the weekend.
On Saturday a group of family friends threw a birthday party in Benton for Leonard Crofford, who turned 100 last Thursday. But what happened at the party left him at a loss for words.
MORE: Franklin County veteran honored in Congress by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost
One of Crofford’s close friends presented him with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
“I wasn’t expecting this he fooled me. He didn’t tell me he was going to do this,” Crofford laughed.
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) helped facilitate the surprise. He also read Crofford’s name on the house floor on Crofford’s birthday.
“One thing I’ve learned in life is that you don’t throw the word ‘hero’ around lightly,” Bost said.
Crofford didn’t expect this kind of surprise, he only anticipated celebrating another year with family and friends.
Born in 1921, Crofford served in the Navy for two years in 1939. He joined the Army two years later, serving from 1941 to 1945.
Crofford is one of the few living veterans who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. He also received a pair of certificates from Bost and State Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) to mark his 100th birthday.
But the flag is the most special item he’s ever received, Crofford said.
“This is something I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life and I’m going to hand it on down to my children.”