For many years, a quiet but very friendly gentleman graced the last pew of Trinity United Church of Christ sanctuary every Sunday. Over time, he has lost his hearing but never his beautiful smile. While he was a man of few words, little did we know that he was a man of great deeds.
Roger Lewis was that man. We came to know him as a successful businessman, a community volunteer, and a devoted husband and father. His quiet demeanor did not give a hint to his accomplishments during the Korean War. Roger was born in Auburn but spent most of his adult life in Union Springs. He owned several successful office supply stores long before Staples and Office Max were part of our landscape. He married Millicent Spring and together they had two children, Deb and David. Roger served our country in the Army both during World War II and yet again during the Korean War when he was called back to service. It was during this war that Roger was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the United States Armed Forces" third-highest military decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
Below is the citation which accompanies Roger's medal which is on display at the Frontenac Museum.
HEADQUARTERS 7TH INFANTRY DIVISION
GENERAL ORDERS 5 August 1951
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR. By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918 (WD Bul. 43, 1918), and pursuant to the authority in AR 600-45, the Silver Star for gallantry in action is awarded to the following named enlisted man:
Corporal ROGER E. LEWIS, ER12246761, Infantry, United States Army, Company K, 31st Infantry, distinguished himself by gallantry in action near Sindok, Korea, on 4 June 1951. On this date, Corporal LEWIS's platoon was attacking a heavily defended enemy-held hill when the group was pinned down by intense hostile small arms and automatic weapons fire. Observing the fire was being placed on them from a bunker, Corporal LEWIS, with complete disregard for his personal safety, charged up the hill firing his automatic weapon at a rapid rate. Reaching the emplacement, his BAR failed to fire. Corporal LEWIS then used his pistol and grenades to kill the occupants of the bunker. The intrepid and prompt action of Corporal LEWIS allowed his platoon to advance and capture its objective with negligible casualties. The gallantry displayed by Corporal LEWIS reflects great credit on himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.
And so this Memorial Day Weekend, we remember Roger, a quiet, brave and fearless hero whose heroism is hidden no more. There are many quiet heroic veterans among us. It could be the man who mows the museum lawn always with a smile on his face who served during the Viet Nam War. It could be a Lion Club Member who gives of his time on Saturdays to barbeque chicken knowing that the proceeds will benefit many of our community organizations. It could be a member of the American Legion who supports the amenities of this organization knowing that those proceeds will also promote the good of our community. It is our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as neighbors, who served our country and continue to serve today in a more quiet way. We salute and thank each and every one of you for your continued service!
The Frontenac Museum is grateful to the Lewis family for entrusting us with Roger's Silver Star and Commendation which are on permanent display in the museum's Military Room.