Colonel Francis Lewis and his wife, Felice, pictured at Monument Park just before the Memorial Day commemorations in Glen Cove. Photo by Z.C.
Col. Francis Lewis, US Army chaplain, (Ret.), was this year's Glen Cove Memorial Day Parade Guest of Honor. During somber ceremonies at Monument Park which included the placement of a wreath, a three-gun salute and the sounding of Taps, Col. Lewis was presented with a proclamation by Mayor Thomas Suozzi in recognition of the colonel's military and civic contributions. In his remarks, the colonel offered his thoughts on his being the last person to hold the hand, to see and to speak with so very many dying soldiers.
Participating this year were the VFW Post 347; the Young Simmons American Legion Post 1765, American Legion Post 76, Marine Corps League-Globe and Anchor Detachment and the Matinecock Rod and Gun Club veterans, in Civil War replica uniforms, who fired a vintage canon in memory of our war dead.
Francis Lewis was drafted out of college in 1942. He spent three and a half years in the Army during WWII, mostly at posts in the US and ended up in the South Pacific preparing for landing in Japan when the war ended. He was discharged in 1946 and finished college.
Following college he studied at the Methodist Seminary in Evanson, Illinois and after a fourth year in graduate school re-entered the Army as a chaplain in 1951. He spent a year in combat with the 25th Division and thereafter served in many posts both in the US and overseas. He was selected to attend the Command and General Staff College in 1961. In 1967 he was sent to Vietnam and was Division Chaplain of the American Division during three campaigns. During the Tet offensive Lewis was almost captured. He also served as an instructor at the Chaplains School. He ended his career in Germany and retired in 1978 after a total of 30 years with the Army. He retired as colonel.
Col. Francis Lewis was a highly decorated Army chaplain. Decorations and medals he was awarded include: Army Commendation Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, UN Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Joint Services Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Korea Campaign Medal, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Conspicuous Service Cross.
He may be the only Glen Cove veteran to serve in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.