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Memorial Day Observance

The City of Highland Park will hold its Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 29, 2017 at 11:00 AM. The event takes place at the Highland Park High School Auditorium, 433 Vine Avenue, and features representatives from the American Legion Post #145, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4737 and Jewish War Veterans #29.  Mayor Nancy Rotering, Colonel Jason L. Morris, U.S. Marine Corps, Great Lakes, Colonel Brett M. Turner, U.S. Army, Fort Sheridan, Command Master Chief Ryan J. Lamkin, U.S. Navy, Great Lakes and other special guests will speak. The Highland Park High School Band will perform patriotic music.  All are welcome to attend.
Mayor Rotering will honor a Hero Among Us. This year’s honoree, selected by the Jewish War Veterans Post #29, is Sheldon Witcoff.

Sheldon Witcoff, U.S. Navy Veteran of World War II
Sheldon Witcoff grew up in Washington, D.C., graduating high school at 16 in 1942. He worked at the Naval Research Lab, joining the Navy at 17. After Boot Camp, Sheldon was selected for the new secret field of radar. He learned to operate, troubleshoot, and repair the Navy’s most advanced radar systems. He was then assigned to the newly constructed large cruiser, USS Guam (CB-2). Sheldon’s ship joined Task Force 58, the fastest, most heavily armed, carrier strike group in the Pacific War. USS Guam and TF 58 attacked Japanese airfields in preparation for the Battle of Okinawa. During that fierce and deadly battle, USS Guam used its radars day and night to shoot down kamikaze planes trying to sink our aircraft carriers.

Radio Technician 2/c Witcoff was then selected for officer training and spent a year at Princeton, but after war’s end chose to leave the Navy and study electrical engineering on the GI Bill. He worked for the U.S. Patent Office and studied law at night. As a patent trial attorney, Sheldon had a distinguished sixty-year career arguing cases in Federal Courts all over the country.

Sheldon and his late wife, Margot, raised four children on the North Shore, ending in Highland Park. He’s a former Fire and Police Commissioner of Skokie, and an active member of JWV Post 29. Sheldon is very proud that his father, a WWI veteran, his mother and brother are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.