It is true that Perry Carver Mason was named after the fictional lawyer Perry Mason.
But he was given that name years before Raymond Burr made that lawyer a household name on a television series from 1957 to 1966.
“My mother, who lived to be 105, came out of Arkansas and taught school and read Perry Mason books,” he said of Erle Stanley Gardner’s many novels. . “People think I was nominated because of the TV show. But it’s because of the book.
Mason, one of seven honored at a Memorial Day ceremony Monday at the Orland Park Veterans Memorial Ara Pace Place of Peace, would like to use Perry Mason’s persuasive skills to provide for veterans’ families.
After the ceremony, Mason, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1969, said it was important for those who died in the line of duty to remember their children.
“We get what we get with the benefits through World War I and World War II veterans,” Mason said. “I hope one day I want to see those who have passed away have their children paid for college.
“If you can send money abroad and help people there, we should be able to provide a university education for children whose parents have died. Those who have died do not have the chance to helping their children is the least we can do.
Mason, 76, a Chicago native who now lives in Gary, had friends and family for the honor, some of whom live in Frankfort and Tinley Park.
“It was really nice,” he said. “It’s good to see them recognize the guys from the Vietnam War. When they got home, there were no parades or anything like that. Anything they can do for them makes me feel good. It makes me feel much better.
Monday’s ceremony drew more than 200 people and speeches from Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and guest speaker Lt. Col. James Hannigan, an Orland Park native and Sandburg High School graduate.
Hannigan said Memorial Day should be both a time of reflection and celebration, though some say it shouldn’t be called a celebration.
“How do we celebrate what they gave us?” He asked. “How should we live in light of this? My social networks are filled with mourners. But it’s good to celebrate too. There are those who are offended by the celebration. If this is you, don’t be offended. Tell their stories. Tell them about their bravery.
Hannigan said it was important to pass on these stories of their great love and sacrifice.
“If there’s a salty old veteran who just gets rubbed the wrong way when you thank him for his service, then ask him because he probably remembers a friend of his,” he said. declared. “Ask them to tell their friend’s story.”
Other honorees whose names were engraved on one of the memorial walls were James John Rzonca, Army, 1955-57; Michael F. Kosowski, Army, 1967-73; Michael A. Lew, Marines, 1975-78; Bill Frank Szlenk, Army, 1943-46; James Richard Baillie, 1967-69; and James E. Thompson, 1967-70.
It was the first of several events at Orland Park with military themes.
At 10 a.m. Friday, area veterans will host a Military Care Package event at Apple Chevrolet in Tinley Park.
Among upcoming events, Veterans Program Assistant Darryl Wertheim is excited about the Unified Veterans and Athletes Flag that will be displayed at the Ara Pace Place of Peace August 5-7 during Taste of Orland.
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It’s a 6-by-28-foot American flag made from 7,000 dog tags of veterans killed in action since 9/11.
“It’s one of the first things we will do for the young people who have passed away,” Wertheim said. “We are doing a lot for WWII, Korea and Vietnam, but it will be different and we think it will attract people from all over to see it.”
Other events include a Veterans Tribute concert on June 16 at the 143rd Street Metra station, a Hometown Heroes banner dedication on July 2, a luncheon on October 9, and a Veterans Day ceremony on November 11th.
There were celebrations across Southland on Monday, including in Oak Lawn, where Owen W. Winter Jr. VFW Post 4241 held a memorial and laid wreaths at the village veterans’ memorial.
U.S. Representative Marie Newman and Mayor Terry Vorderer, himself a veteran, asked residents to remember the sacrifice of those who died and to honor living veterans.
Vorderer, a former police officer, drew applause by specifically acknowledging the Oak Lawn police officers present, calling them the first line of defense.
Jeff Vorva is a freelance journalist for the Daily Southtown.