Centenarian receives flag flown over US Capitol in her honor
The (Petersburg, Va.) Progress-Index
COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — Lucille P. Martin proudly accepted "old glory" from Army 1st Sgt. Michael Henry at the Dunlop House Friday afternoon.
Henry and other soldiers from the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade folded a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor. The 102-year-old native of South Carolina moved to Virginia with her husband John came to Camp Lee.
"I've loved every minute of it since we've been in Petersburg," Martin said. At Camp Lee while her husband was a military baker, she found her own way - first working in the on-post commissary, and eventually making her way to the headquarters motor pool. "That's what I wanted to do."
Martin said that she had grown up driving Ford Model Ts in the country and Studebakers. "I liked that kind of work, and they issued me a new Plymouth," Martin said with a smile, fondly recalling the car. Some of her work included taking officers to other posts including Fort Pickett near Blackstone.
But, she also worked transporting German prisoners of war on Fort Lee itself. More than 1,000 Germans were held at Fort Lee during World War II.
"I couldn't understand what they were saying any more than they could understand me," Martin said. "They were always polite. I had no trouble with them."
Martin said the German soldiers would go to where the golf course on post is currently located and collected "bazooka shells." The captured soldiers turned the shells into lamps. Altogether she said she was on post for about two years.
Following her time working on Camp Lee, Martin said she later opened an appliance store in Petersburg, Lighthouse Furniture, at the time located next to Oak Furniture.
But, the gift of the flag flown over the Capitol in her honor Friday was one of the best experiences of her life, Martin said.
"It's wonderful, best thing I've ever had in my life," Martin said. "Really, it's just such a shock. I didn't think I'd ever have the honor to get something like this. It was a big surprise."