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New Flossmoor history book will benefit veterans’ memorial project

Flossmoor residents interested in the village’s centennial history have a new resource available March 15, thanks to Flossmoor Veterans’ Memorial, Inc.

Kristine Condon, FVM’s secretary-treasurer, has published her second local history book, “Fragments of Flossmoor:  A Series of Essays on the Interesting, Curious, and Unique in Our Village.”

The 128-page book, available in both hardcover and paperback, will be published through Barnes & Noble. The book will be available for order at FVM’s March 15 Trivia Night at Flossmoor Community House, with 100% of the sales earmarked for the Wall of Honor project.

“’Fragments of Flossmoor’ is a series of 15 essays on interesting, infrequently covered parts of Flossmoor’s history,” Condon said.  “My father (FVM Vice President Richard Condon) and his family first moved to the village in 1932.  The impact Flossmoor veterans had on him in his teenaged years is still dinner table conversation. Last year, the Foundation for the Preservation of Flossmoor History asked me to document the story of Private James Vincent Mitchell, Jr., who was Flossmoor’s World War II POW.  The rest of the essays just evolved from there, and the result is ‘Fragments of Flossmoor.’”

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Other veteran-oriented essays include Flossmoor’s five World War II fatalities; the history of the original World War II Honor Roll; and the sacrifice of Darryl Dushon Edwards, the village’s first Black soldier to perish in a peacetime accident.  One essay includes the story of MIA Col. Jeffrey Lemon, whose plane was shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War.  Another honors Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Jude Murphy, an Infant Jesus of Prague School and Marian Catholic High School alumnus who perished in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Fragments of Flossmoor” salutes Flossmoor’s community spirit during the war years, including essays on how residents converted a Model A chassis to the village’s second fire truck and a Packard to the village’s first ambulance; the artistic vision of Douglas Hall, whose woodcarvings grace Flossmoor Community Church; and the story of Elfrieda (“Tootie”) Heuer, who began her career as Enrico Fermi’s personal assistant on the Manhattan Project.

Perhaps the most interesting essay covers FVM’s hunt for the ownership of the land that will eventually house the Veterans’ Wall of Honor. Each essay is illustrated with historical photos, legal documents, and current-day photography.

Retired Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun commented that this is “a work that not only has special meaning for the residents of Flossmoor, but also illustrates for the world at large the greatness of ordinary people giving extraordinary service to their community and country.

“We’re also excited to be working on a local history unit for use in the eighth-grade classes in District 161 and at IJP School. ‘Fragments of Flossmoor’ will provide a local history resource for faculty who are working to implement civics and local history learning standards in their classrooms. We’re delighted that this book will add to Flossmoor’s rich history during its centennial year.”

Condon’s first book, “Richard Haas Murals in Homewood, Illinois,” was published in 2020 and won a 2022 Illinois State Historical Society Superior Achievement Award for local history publications.

“Fragments of Flossmoor” will be available for donations of $30 for hardcover and $25 for paperback on FVM’s online store (https://flossmoorvets.square.site).  Purchasers who wish to have their copies dedicated or signed for gift-giving should use the “Notes” field at checkout.

FVM expects to construct the Veterans’ Wall of Honor on a 9,500-square-foot parcel located north of Flossmoor Road and east of the Metra/CN tracks. Designed by Flossmoor architect Michael Matthys, the Wall of Honor will be a tribute to all current and former Flossmoor residents who are serving or have served our nation’s armed forces.

For more information, visit @honoringflossmoorvets on Facebook/Instagram, @FlossmoorVWH on Twitter,  https://flossmoorvets.square.siteon the Web, or [email protected] via e-mail.

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