ALTON - Joe Pyatt is one of the last of a dying breed - World War II veterans.

Pyatt served in the Pacific Theater, and was one of the first American servicemen to enter Hiroshima following the dropping of the atomic bomb. Pyatt served in the Marine Corps, and is going to be honored for his service next Monday, Jan. 15 at the Alton VFW Post #1308. He will be given his red cover and red blazer by the Marine Corps League, which has a local office based in Wood River.

Alton VFW Post #1308 Commander Tom Wilson said the red cover and blazer are symbolic of the red strip on the dress trousers of Marine dress blues.

"The red stripe symbolizes the blood shed from every war," Wilson said. "The red blazer will identify him as a part of the Marine Corps League."

Wilson said the event Monday, which will begin at 7 p.m., will begin with proclamations from Illinois State Senator William Haine and Alton Mayor Brant Walker. Food will be provided by the Alton VFW Post #1308, and will include hot wings and pizza.

Veterans especially are invited to attend. Wilson said veterans are encouraged to come wearing their medals and clothing marking them as a veteran.

Following the proclamation and presentation, Wilson said there will be a reception time in which Pyatt will be invited to share stories and socialize. Wilson said World War II veterans are ageing quickly, and it is becoming increasingly important to hear their stories and histories.

Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at

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