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East Lansing honors veterans at Medal of Honor recipient memorial

Kevin Lavery / WKAR
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Clayton Kilgallon lays a wreath at a memorial honoring 2nd Lt. Sherrod Skinner, a former East Lansing resident who was killed during the Korean War in 1952 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The city of East Lansing honored veterans Thursday with a small ceremony in a place that bears witness to the memory of one of its most storied residents. 

Under a crisp blue sky, three Marines in even crisper dress blue uniforms laid wreaths at a set of black stone markers outside the Hannah Community Center.

During the Korean War, Second Lieutenant Sherrod Skinner shielded his fellow Marines from a bomb blast that took his life and earned him the Medal of Honor.

East Lansing Director of Parks, Recreation and Arts Cathy DeShambo thanked the members of 1st Battalion, 24th Marines Charlie Company for their service.

“We appreciate them so much and it’s such a beautiful ceremony when they lay the wreaths at our memorial,” DeShambo said. “It’s just very touching and we are so grateful to have them participate with us.”

DeShambo added the event doesn’t just honor those who served in uniform.

“Families make those sacrifices together,” she said. “We have mothers and fathers here in the audience who are honoring their sons and daughters who participated and served. So, it’s a beautiful thing in that way.”

One attendee at Thursday’s ceremony was Dodie Neller, the mother of retired General Robert Neller, who served as Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2015 to 2019.

Thursday marked the 247th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Friday is Veterans Day, which was formally established in 1954.

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.