Helen DeBruin was a riveter and welder, as well as a Marine during World War II, so attending events like Wednesday’s Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance at Faith Presbyterian Church reminds her of those days.
“It brings back memories, and you feel like you’re part of it,” she said.
DeBruin watched the event, organized by the Military Order of the World Wars Chapter 131, with the Rosie the Riveter Club of Sun City. The ceremony featured a parade of flags carried by Junior ROTC cadets and members of various military veterans organizations, a POW/MIA ceremony performed by the Peoria High School Air Force Junior ROTC Ceremonial Drill Team, and the presentation of colors performed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs.
“I thought it was very, very nice,” DeBruin said. “It couldn’t have been better.”
The event honored military from all wars, but DeBruin, a Westbrook Village resident, was the only woman to stand when the group recognized Marine veterans. She entered the Marines in 1945 during World War II and left a year later before being called back to train women officers in 1948 before the Korean War.
Retired Lt. Col. Elizabeth Waters, with the Military Order of the World Wars Chapter 131, helped plan the sixth annual event and was happy with the way it turned out. This year, the flag parade included 32 flags, the most they’ve had, and Peoria High School’s performance was more extensive.
Chapter 131 commander Lt. Ed Kain, a former Navy officer, thanked the crowd for their service and support of the military.
Sun Citian Marcia Ansley had two brothers in the military during World War II and enjoyed the chance to honor them.
“I thought it was fantastic, just wonderful,” Ansley said.