Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in honor of Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, who died on June 29 in Huntington, WV at the age of 98. Williams was the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient. Those covered by the Act are asked to immediately lower the United States flags and the State flags at all buildings occupied by personnel until sunset on Sunday, July 3.

Born in Quiet Dell, WV in 1923, Hershel W. “Woody” Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima between February 19-March 26, 1945 with the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division. During the battle, Williams displayed “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective.” Williams’ actions, commitment to his fellow service members and heroism were recognized on October 5, 1945 when he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman at the White House at the age of 22. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for military valor.

Besides the Medal of Honor, Williams was honored by having a Navy ship named for him in 2020, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, and a Veterans Administration medical center in Huntington was renamed after him in 2018. Williams worked for the VA for 33 years as a counselor after spending 20 years in the Marines.

“He was just a remarkable person,” Mercer County (WV) Commissioner Bill Archer told Stars and Stripes. “He really shared freely his experiences in the war and in peace. and he worked with the veterans who were going through that adverse challenge of trying to get back to civilian life. He worked very closely with them, and it’s all been a mission to him to try to help those of us who are civilians to demonstrate our support for those who made the supreme sacrifice, also to remember all those who served no matter what their duty station was or what the requirements of their service was.”

More information on lowering the flag is available by clicking here. To learn more about Williams, click here.