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Michigan Military Museum Honors WWII Veterans, Connects Survivor with Veteran

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After a successful Taste of the Trenches event in April, the Michigan Military Heritage Museum followed up with their second major event, A Summer Campaign this past Saturday.

The event was billed as a WWI commemoration, complete with a barbed wire trench “ribbon” cutting, snacks, beverages and period music performed by The Dugouts. Another highlight of the day was the recognition of Grass Lake’s WWII veterans.

With a over of hundred guests and volunteers in attendance, 6 special guests were recognized for their service during WWII. After a brief introduction, the flag folding ceremony was performed by the honor guard, and each WWII Veteran was presented with an American flag as a recognition of their service and dedication. Veterans Herbert Kohn- Army, Eugene Setlock- Navy, Lillian Campbell- Navy, Ralph Brown- Army Air Corps, Earl Roberts-Army, Phil Rosenberger- Army.

Another highlight was the first face to face meeting between Nico Ackerman and Ralph Brown. Akemann, who was a teenager during WWII, and his family were starving in the Netherlands during WWII. Akemann believes his family of 7 were less than two weeks away from starving to death under the Nazi occupation.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Ralph Brown was a navigator on B-17 bombers making humanitarian runs during this same time. The 3 million Dutch were desperate. Millions were starving. Operation Chowhound and its British counterpart Operation Manna dropped over 11,000 tons of food as part of the humanitarian missions. The food dropped was tinned food, dried food and chocolate. Brown remembers flying very low, 200-300 feet above the ground, unarmed along a narrow corridor. Flying outside of the corridor, they were likely to be shot down.

Akeman said “I just wanted to thank him for what he and the U.S. people did.”

The museum recently underwent additional renovations including a WWI trench through donations and a grant from Home Depot.

The Michigan Military Museum is operated by the Grass Lake Area Historical Connections and is located at 152 N Union St in Grass Lake.

Facebook: @mimilitaryheritagemuseum

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