World War II

November 11, 2011 by staff 

World War II, Stanley “Midge” Ksiazek, a World War II Army veteran, is not the type of person who brings attention to himself. However, it is his commitment to Town of Lake VFW Post 5216 and his years of service to his country that speaks volumes.

Ksiazek, 89, who now lives in Chicago Lawn after spending most of his life in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, took part in the most recent Honor Flight Chicago trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to U.S. veterans.

The majority of the 100 veterans on the recent morning flight were World War II vets. Honor Flight Chicago has made 34 trips out of Chicago while other groups from other cities have arranged trips.

Ksiazek had never previously gone on the Honor Flight trips from Midway Airport. Donald Prazuch, the Town of Lake post commander, made the trip a year ago and recommended the journey to any member who can still travel.

Prazuch had repeatedly asked Ksiazek to go on one of the trips. Ksiazek finally relented, joking that “since he can’t wait to be elected senator, he might as well go.”

Despite his age, Ksiazek is still an active member of the Town of Lake Post. He is currently the post adjutant.

Ksiazek is a first-generation Polish American. He attended the former Sacred Heart Elementary School, which was demolished in 1990.

He worked as a supervisor in the Stockyards and later joined the Army in World War II.

Ksiazek has many memories from World War II. He fought at the Battle of Normandy, in Luxemburg and Germany. He also was captured by the Germans and was a prisoner of war for five months.

According to some published reports, Ksiazek lost over 60 pounds during his capture. He had lengthy work detail and few rations of food to eat.

This was the most challenging period of Ksiazek’s life.

However, at least he was not alone.

The Germans also captured his lieutenant, Nick Vitale, and other U.S. soldiers. They forced them to evacuate their grounds in minutes.

Ksiazek served in the U.S. Army for three years. His World War II?experience gave him a better appreciation for more aspects of life that many take for granted.

While celebrating the allies World War II victory, Ksiazek said it was difficult to deal with the fact of seeing so many people killed. It gave him a better appreciation for life and freedom.

The recent trip to Washington, D.C., was that more meaningful for Ksiazek. The trip was an all-day affair, beginning at 4 a.m. when his friend, C.J. Murzyn, picked him up for his drive to Midway Airport.

Flight 32 included many who served in different wars and conflicts, including four female veterans. The majority of the vets were from World War II and many of them needed wheelchairs.

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