Honored with Old Glory
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Nov 15, 2013, 14:18
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Lucille Martin accepts a flag that has flown over the Capitol during a ceremony at Dunlop House.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — The colors in the American flag were a little faded and the once-pristine white stripes were slightly yellowed, but the weathering of Old Glory was not something to be ashamed of. This flag had gotten this way by flying over the U.S. Capitol.
And for 102-year-old Lucille C. Martin, it was ”wonderful. Best thing I ever had, I think, in my life. Really. Its just such a shock.”
The surprise came after staff at Dunlop House assisted living community contacted Rep. Randy Forbes’ office to request she be given the flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on her 102nd birthday, Sept. 29.
She was chosen because her husband, John, served during World War II.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to get something like this honor. â€¦ It was a big surprise,” she said after a ceremony Nov. 1 at Dunlop House attended by some of her family members and veterans who live there. Members of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade stationed at Fort Lee present the flag.
The ceremony would have happened earlier, but with the government shutdown, the flag couldn’t be processed.
Martin herself also served during World War II as a driver at Camp Lee.
She grew up in South Carolina, but came Petersburg after she married the second time. She spent two years at Camp Lee.
“We loved every minute of it, since I got into Petersburg,” she said.
Her husband went into the military as a baker. “He could really bake too,” said.
During World War II, she initially worked in the commissary and doing other jobs but was then transferred to transportation motor pool.
“That’s what I wanted to do, because I was raised in the country and I grew up with old T model Fords,” she said. “... I liked that work so they issued me a new Plymouth and I used to take the officers around to different places like Blackstone and Richmond and places like that.”
Martin showed an old photo of her husband standing by German prisoners of war held at Camp Lee during World War II.
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Soldiers from Fort Lee fold a flag for Lucille Martin, center, as her family and veterans watch during a ceremony at Dunlop House in Colonial Heights.
“I couldn’t understand what they were saying, any more than they couldn’t understand me, but they were always polite. I never had no trouble with them,” she said.
Despite, the war going on at the time, Martin had fond memories of Camp Lee.
“We’d go up to the golf course and we’d pick up [bazooka] shells out there on the golf course because thats where they had them at then, and they’d take them and put beautiful lamp shades on top,” she said.
“At that time, it was so nice there, and the food was nice. â€¦ Everyone got along pretty well for it being war time,” she said.
After the war, they decided to stay in Petersburg.
In the 50s they opened their own furniture and appliance store downtown. Lighthouse Furniture, then located next to Oak Furniture, is still a recognizable name today. Her son and grandson now run the business.
She retired when she was 98 years old and moved to Dunlop House in Colonial Heights.
“I still have customers calling me and asking my advice on stuff,” she said with a laugh.