Newswise — 200 years of living between them, two Purple Hearts, two-sport athletes at Western, both attended school at WIU in the late 1930s ... but had never met until Oct. 10. Retired Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Mike Smith coordinated a meeting between WIU alumni and WWII heroes Pete Fulks and John Moon, when he realized the two had never met but had so much in common. Moon, 102, and Fulks, 98, got together for lunch recently at Macomb's Wesley Village Retirement Center.

Moon, a WWII Marine Corps veteran, graduated from Western in 1939. He is the oldest known survivor of the first wave of Marines that stormed the beaches at Iwo Jima. After graduating from Western and returning from the war, Moon first opened and operated the S & J Café on the Macomb Square for nearly 20 years, followed by a candy store on the square for 20 more years. He finished his career as a driver's ed teacher for Macomb High School in the 1980s.

Fulks first attended Western in the late 1930s before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated in 1949 (and later earned his master's degree from WIU in 1957). During his service in the midst of WWII, Fulks was shot down behind enemy lines in Serbia during the war and spent 65 days making his way back to Allied territory. After graduating from WIU, Fulks was a long-time Rushville (IL) School District teacher and administrator.


John has also had the honor of singing the National Anthem twice at our Women's Basketball's Veterans Appreciation Night. See story and video here:

Pete's full story about being shot down behind enemy lines can be read here:

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