Signs along Route 251 from Tonica to Mendota in LaSalle County now tell motorists they are riding on the “Witczak Brothers Memorial Highway.” The highway signs were unveiled Sept. 28 during a ceremony hosted by State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) in Tonica.
“The seven Witczak brothers, like all veterans, deserve our deepest honor and respect for dedicating their lives to protecting our nation,” Rezin said. “To have seven brothers from the Illinois Valley serve in either World War II or the Korean War is not only a unique story, it’s one that deserves special recognition. Naming Route 251 through LaSalle County is a small gesture of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Naming it the ‘Witczak Brothers Memorial Highway’ will also help our communities remember this family and their incredible story now and for future generations.”
“All my brothers fought so bravely in so many battles,” Anthony Witczak of Peru said. “This is a great honor to have this highway named for my family. My brothers, God rest their souls, would really appreciate this.”
Rezin sponsored resolution SJR 48 this spring at the Statehouse to honor the seven Witczak brothers from LaSalle County who all served our country in the military.
The seven sons of Thomas and Clara served in different capacities of the US Military that spanned World War II and Korea. Joseph Witczak, the first brother to enlist, was wounded during operations for the US Army in the Pacific Theatre. John Witczak and Casmir Maurer, the adopted sons of Thomas and Clara, both served in the US Army, Pacific Theatre. Anthony Witczak, a sailor in the US Navy during WW II, also served in the Pacific and is the last surviving brother. Francis Witczak was the only member of the family to serve in Germany for the Army during WW II.
Five years after the Second World War, the US began operations in Korea and the last two sons of Thomas and Clara heard the call to service. Both Thomas Witczak and Edward Witczak Sr. served in the US Army during the Korean War.
The seven brothers served the United States a combined 18 years.
“The seven Witczak brothers and all our veterans are true American heroes,” Rezin said. “They embody what our country stands for: freedom, democracy, integrity, and compassion. It’s our responsibility to make sure that all of our veterans’ sacrifices are never forgotten. We thank them for serving our country and for the sacrifices so many have made for our safety and freedom.”