CICERO - The Kiwanis Club of Cicero honored local veterans with a special breakfast and program last Saturday at the United Family Wesleyan Church in Cicero.
Members of the Cicero Kiwanis in cooperation with students involved in Hamilton Heights Key, Builders and K-Kids Clubs along with their sponsors also helped throughout the breakfast.
Cicero Kiwanis President Keith Ecker welcomed the group to this special breakfast in honor of our local veterans. Reverend Jody Brown, Pastor of Atlanta Christian Church and veteran of the U.S. Army, led the prayer.
Ecker said the club is proud to provide this annual event to honor our veterans and to thank them for their admirable contribution to our country.
"This is a signature event for us as we collaboratively work with the United Family Wesleyan Church and all three of our Service Leadership Programs - Key Club, Builders Club, and K Kids, to host this program," Ecker said. "The typical comment we hear from the veterans is about how much they enjoy interacting with the Hamilton Heights students. Students share the same sentiment."
The guest speaker was Ret. Brig. Gen. Don Canaday, a WWII veteran and past president of Kiwanis International. Brig. Gen. Canaday, who spent 21 years on active duty with the U.S. Army and four years in the Indiana National Guard Reserve, brought with him stories along with a special flag and the history behind it.
He explained the flag was hand crafted in Bastone, Belgium by a woman who had lived in occupied Belgium for four years during WWII. She wanted to honor the U.S. soldiers when they arrived and made it in secret. This involved a degree of danger due to the occupying German forces.
Canaday had the pleasure of meeting the woman's granddaughter, then President of the Bastone Club, when he visited Kiwanis in Belgium. He returned for a visit three years later, and then two years ago, she sent the flag to Canaday as a gift. Canaday, who felt the gift was too important to keep, donated it to the Indianapolis World War II Museum. The showing of this flag at the breakfast was its last public showing before being placed on display at the museum.