World War II veteran Richard Sterling and his wife, Carol, used to watch Farmington parades from the sidewalk in front of the Farmington Insurance Agency building on Grand River.
On Friday, family members gathered there to watch as city workers hung a banner honoring Sterling’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps. It was one of four additions to the city’s Military Banner Program, launched last year to honor the service of Farmington area veterans.
Sister Nancy Stelmaszek of Farmington said the banner placement means a lot to the family. The Sterlings and Clappisons were once neighbors.
“He’s home,” she said. “He’s where he should be.”
The banner honoring John Buck, a U.S. Air Force Major General, also hangs in a familiar location for his family–in front of Salem United Church of Christ on Oakland Street.
“He sang in the choir at the church,” son Tom Buck said. “This was very meaningful for him. He was a Farmington man, and we’re very proud of his career.”
The banner for Frank Marino now hangs on the west side of Farmington Road, just south of Grand River. His daughter Pat Hansen, a Farmington resident, said it’s near his favorite restaurant, Page’s Food & Spirits.
Frank is one of five brothers who all enlisted during World War II. Hansen said they had few choices growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania.
“He always represented the Marines well,” she added. “He said, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine.’.”
Staff Sgt. Myron Coon, who served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946, had deep Farmington roots. He and his parents and grandparents all graduated from Farmington High School, as did his children.
Daughter Nancy Thomas said it is especially important to honor those who fought during World War II and defeated Nazism, a movement that still has followers today.
“It’s important to me to honor these veterans and what they fought for,” she said. “We need to do whatever we can to keep that from growing.”
Veterans and/or their families can fill out a form on the city’s website to apply for the program. Banners come down during the winter months and will return each year in time for Memorial Day.
Learn more about all the honored veterans and find a banner application at farmgov.com/Community/Military-Banners.aspx.