June 2017 – Bandstand Flag Notice

Merle E. Vanderhorst

Merle E. Vanderhorst
September 29, 1924 – August 23, 1944
2nd Lieutenant
United States 15th Air Force.
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The flag flying over the bandstand during the month of October is in honor of Merle E. Vanderhorst of Bussey, Iowa.

A student at Iowa State University, Merle joined the Air Force, February 23, 1943. He earned his wings at Ft. Summer, New Mexico, March 12, 1944. He left Lincoln, Nebraska, July of 1944, to fly to Italy, the Co-Pilot on a B-24 Liberation Bomber, with the 724th Bomber Group and the 451st Bomber Group. Merle was killed in action by enemy fighters on his 8th mission over St. Polten, Austria, August 23, 1944. His plane carried eleven crew members, six of them were killed and the remaining five were taken as prisoners of war. Merle and the five other crew killed, were buried in a common grave in Neuville, En Codroz, Belgium until 1950. At that time the War Department decided to move the bodies of the crew to a cemetery in the United States. It was ultimately decided that Keokuk National Cemetery was chosen because of the location of many family members.

If you are interested in flying the flag of a veteran above the bandstand, contact Shawn Langkamp at Garland-VanArkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel at 641-672-2181 or www.gvlfuneralchapel.com Contact Us Link.

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