To A Fallen Monticellonian
Members of Ensign Rodney Shelton Foss’ family, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1545 and American Legion Post 2 conclude the 2017 Drew County Memorial Day ceremony by dedicating a county park to Foss, considered to be the first U.S. military casualty of World War II.
The park is located north of the Drew County Courthouse by the railroad tracks on the site of the home where Foss was born. The annual Memorial Day ceremony, to remember the fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen all across the U.S., but specifi cally those Drew Countians who made the ultimate sacrifice, was held in front of the courthouse Monday morning.
Guest speakers included State Rep. LeAnne Burch, herself a veteran; Drew County Judge Robert Akin; and Monticello Interim Mayor (at the time) David Anderson, also a veteran. A bell was rung and a U.S. flag placed on a memorial board by members of Boy Scout Troop 67 for each of the names on the war memorial statue in front of the courthouse.
Following the ceremony, the Foss Memorial Park was dedicated. Foss was born in Monticello in the home of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Shelton— and onlookers can still see signs of the house’s foundation in front of what is now the Main Street Mini-Park. Foss’ body was returned to Monticello and he is interred in Oakland Cemetery where, unfortunately, his grave does not even indicate he was in the military. Since he died before Congress passed the law allowing a veteran both a civilian and a military marker, a Veterans Administration headstone is not possible.
The Drew County military community has been struggling to raise the funds to get a marker for his grave that shows his service to the U.S. (a gofundme. com page—https://www.gofundme.com/rodneyshelton-foss-grave-marker-2vec9vnq —has been established for this purpose). Foss was posthumously awarded a Commendation, a Pacific Fleet medal and a Purple Heart.