FLAGS FOR HEROES
Join the Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club in honoring, remembering, celebrating, and recognizing the heroes that have served and sacrificed for our freedom, as well as those that serve today.
Flags for Heroes is a fundraising event that provides an amazing visual display of American flags during the week of Veteran's Day in the Pentagon area of Arlington. Our goal is to create a fundraiser that will engage our entire community while giving people a chance to personally recognize and fly a flag in honor of a person that has made a significant contribution to their lives.
Matt Leavitt, President of Crystal City Rotary Club honors his hero:
Charles W. Rush Jnr, United States Navy - Navy Cross
Captain Rush was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while serving as Chief Engineer and Diving Officer on board USS Billfish (SS-286) during a combat war patrol in the enemy controlled waters of Makassar Strait on 11 November 1943. When an extremely severe depth charge attack incapacitated the Captain and all officers senior to Captain Rush (then a lieutenant), with cool courage and outstanding professionalism he directed the damage control efforts directly responsible for saving the ship. The sustained accurate attacks caused major leaking through the stern tubes and various hull fittings and, it was later discovered, actually ruptured the pressure hull aft. Calling on his prior extensive combat experience, Captain Rush was able to maintain the submarine at 580 feet, almost 170 feet below her test depth, and prevent her sinking further to crush depth. During 12 straight exhaustive hours at his Diving Officer post, his calm demeanor, innovative damage control actions, and demonstrated courage in the face of perceived certain disaster served as a major inspiration to the crew to keep them functioning after most had given up all hope of survival. After finally being relieved by another officer, Captain Rush proceeded to the conning tower to assess the situation. He found the helm unmanned, the Captain and all senior officers still incapacitated, and no effective action being taken to counter the relentless depth charge attacks. Captain Rush, in a display of enlightened leadership, immediately assumed the conn, obtained a helmsman, and proceeded to direct evasive actions to elude the enemy above. Hearing the continuing explosions astern and reasoning that explosions close to the fuel ballast tanks had caused oil leaks that enabled the enemy ship to track the submarine’s path, he then performed an innovative maneuver which resulted in the submarine retracing its own path in the opposite direction to pass under the old oil slicks. This so confused the enemy that they lost contact with the Billfish, and Captain Rush was able to bring her to the surface after dark some four hours later, safely distant from the enemy now searching astern in a vain attempt to regain contact. He commenced recharging the depleted batteries with the single operable engine-generator, and as more machinery was repaired, he enhanced the propulsion capability and effected a successful escape from the scene. Captain Rush’s inspiring and exceptional performance of duty under the worst imaginable conditions and in the face of seemingly certain death were directly responsible for saving Billfish and all hands from loss and for restoring the shattered confidence of the crew. By his courageous actions, superb leadership, and loyal dedication to duty, Captain Rush reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Rotarian Lisa Lawn-Nieboer wrote this about her hero, her grandfather who served during WWII:
Michael Hugh Kershaw - Royal Highland Fusiliers - Military Cross
My grandfather taught me lots of things but the one thing I remember vividly was his kindness and the hours he spent patiently teaching to drive so I could pass the British driving test which requires that you learn to operate a stick-shift. I was not a good student! I often wondered where he got his patience from. I had been told that he had been a physician in World War II and when anyone asked him what he had done he always said that he had eaten a lot of spam. But it was known quietly by the family that he had been awarded a medal for his bravery.
It was not until after he passed that my grandmother shyly gave me his medal. She too had never known what he had done during the war. I decided to write to the National Archives in London to find out. When we received his records back we discovered that he had been awarded the Military Cross. He had been in the Battle of the Scheldt, a fierce battle over the port of Antwerp and he had rescued many of his unit pulling them out of danger under gun-fire, including saving the life of his commanding officer. My grandmother and I shared tears together, finally learning his story and we feel thankful for his service which has allowed us to live our lives in peace and freedom. My memory of his bravery, kindness and patience continues to live on in the stories I recite about him to my family. My grandfather is my greatest hero and it is an honor to be able to fly a flag in his memory.
Like Matt and Lisa each of us has a hero. Please consider honoring yours with a flag. Individuals can sponsor their heroes by clicking on this website. Corporate sponsorships are also available, starting as low as $250, also through the link on this site. Please take a minute today to reflect on the heroes in your life and help our community honor them this Veteran's Day. Our goal this year is 60 flags. Won’t you help us reach it?
We respect and appreciate all those who fight for our freedom. Honor your hero by sponsoring a flag.
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