LEBANON, Mo. — The family of a World War II Veteran is making sure their loved one, who passed away over two decades ago, is honored.
When a Veteran passes away, it is up to the family to start the process to obtain their military marker for their gravesite. Laclede County Veteran Joseph Fulkerson didn’t have anyone to help until now.
“Never asked for anything, never asked for recognition,” said John Shoemaker, a relative of Joseph. “He just came home, he was happy to be home and continued to live his life.”
Shoemaker said Joseph never talked much about his days in World War II, but he was captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war for three years.
“It was a lot of painful treatings and beatings and treatments,” said Shoemaker. “So, it was defintely hard to read what he went through.”
When Joseph passed away in 1997, his immediate family had already died. There was nobody left to make sure he received his military grave marker honoring his service and sacrifice.
Now, nearly 25 years later, relative and combat Veteran John Shoemaker stepped in.
“When I first heard he wasn’t recognized for what he had been through and his service, I was absolutely shocked and I wanted to do everything I could to give him the proper dedication that he deserved,” said Shoemaker.
Now, Joseph has a plaque from the Veteran’s Administration for the gravesite thanks to Shoemaker.
“It is a great feeling and a sigh of relief that he is finally getting the recognition that he deserves,” said Shoemaker. “This gentleman is a hero, he went through and endured so much.”
Family members and friends have scheduled a dedication ceremony with full military honors on June 13 in Lebanon.