WWII veteran serves country through commemorating family, other servicemembers

Hartford, CT

After my six weeks training at Hunter College in Bronx, N.Y., I was assigned to U.S. Navy Communications in Washington, D.C., through WAVES. I worked alongside the reflection pool near the Lincoln Memorial as a yeoman third class. Later the rating was changed to Specialist Q and I was honorably discharged Specialist Q first class.

I remember so well after my service, in December 1945, the first thing I did was to join the American Legion, a Jane Delano post, in Hartford, Conn. I still have my 1946 membership card after 67 years. It was an all women’s veteran post.

When most of the members had passed on, the treasurer and I dissolved the post. A memorial stone with all our names engraved on it is located in Soldiers Field in Wilson, Conn.

I’m also a life member of Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) and WAVES National. I would decorate my white car for Veterans Day, and drive it in the parade with our members. A few marched ahead with the unit banner.

When veteran Lillian Haran died in 1993, I sent her obituary to the WIMSA Memorial for their records. Then I thought it would be a good idea to keep checking for women veterans to honor. For about the past 20 years, I’ve frequently sent WIMSA obituaries.

But my family has a long history of service. I am happy to report that my father, Joseph Litwinas, emigrated from Lithuania and joined the U.S. Army Mexican Border Patrol as a saddler. My older brother Joseph served in WWII in the Army, and my younger brother Charles served in the Marines during the Korean War. Now my granddaughter Jessica serves in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot. She just returned from Afghanistan.

It’s my husband, Vincent A. Morkus (photo at left), who’s our No. 1 hero. He served in the Army Air Corps as a navigator. On a mission to Germany from England, the plane was attacked. He had to parachute over Germany, where he was taken prisoner for 15 months. Vincent is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. May his soul rest in peace.

For God and country—
Florence Morkus, Hartford Conn.

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