Ceil Severns Was Among 107 Veterans Who Took Ceremonial Trip To Washington, DC
Submitted By Joliet Area Community Hospice
“It was like a dream.” That was how Ceil Severns of Shorewood described the feeling she had after being recognized by Honor Flight Chicago earlier this month.
More than 100 veterans of Word War II and the Korean War were presented with a day trip to Washington, D.C., for a day of honor.
Severns, who joined the U.S. Marines in 1944, was one of two female veterans who took part in the Oct. 5 Honor Flight.
The day began with donuts, coffee and entertainment by the Legacy Girls. The group, similar to the Andrew Sisters, sang music of the 1940’s. Severns said she knew all the words because her family regularly listened to the music on the radio. She enjoyed singing along with the group before boarding an airplane on its way to the nation’s capital.
After joining the Marines on her 20th birthday, Severns was stationed at Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, California. She worked in the office at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and that is where she met her husband, Merle Severns.
He was coming back from his tour in the South Pacific, and Ceil said she was the first “lady” Marine that her husband ever saw.
Ceil said it was love at first sight.
They got married just three weeks later and had two children. The couple traveled all over Europe and were stationed in California, Guam, Germany and Maryland. Merle was in the military for 33 years; six years in the Marines and the remainder in the U.S. Army. He served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam. After Merle retired, the couple headed back to Ceils hometown of Joliet.
During the recent Honor Flight, the group arrived to Washington, D.C., and were transferred by motor coach to various war monuments.
Ceil used the word “marvelous” numerous times to describe the sights. She said the capital is full of history, adding that she was happy to see the parents of young children allowing them to learn the history of the country by visiting these monuments.
One part of the trip that amazed the Shorewood resident was when Honor Flight volunteers presented her with a plaque honoring her husband during a ceremony of servicemen standing at attention and singing “God Bless America.”
On the return to Midway Airport later that evening, the veterans were welcomed by military personnel, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, ROTC members, a band, and of course family and friends.
Ceil said she had to pinch herself to make certain she was actually living through this wonderful day. She said her sister’s family were there, along with staff and volunteers from Joliet Area Community Hospice and her caregiver, Paula Korycki. The well-wishers were holding signs and posters welcoming her home.
Marguerite Kronberger, chaplain at JACH, was instrumental in Ceil’s application for the Honor Flight.
“It was an outstanding event,” Kronberger said. “Ceil had tears of joy, and was so happy and proud of her service.”
During the flight, mail call letters were distributed to the veterans. Ceil said she received hundreds of letters from hospice staff and volunteers, which she joked will keep her busy reading for a while.