Lansing Historical Society to hold vigil, open exhibit April 8

Lansing invited to observe Lansing Fallen Heroes Memorial Day

by Carrie Steinweg

LANSING, Ill. (April 4, 2019) – Each year in May, our nation observes Memorial Day to remember those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. And each year in April, Lansing observes its own memorial day—to remember two hometown heroes who lost their lives on the same day in separate years while carrying out their duties to serve and protect.

On Monday, April 8, the Lansing Historical Society invites residents to view a display honoring these two young men—Officer Kenneth Novak and LCPL Philip Martini. Novak is the only police officer in Lansing to be killed in the line of duty. He died April 8, 1992. Martini, a Marine, is the only casualty of the Iraq War from Lansing. He was killed in action on April 8, 2006.

Museum Curator Barb Dust put together displays honoring LCPL Philip Martini (shown here) and Officer Kenneth Novak. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

In 2014, then-Mayor Norm Abbott issued a proclamation declaring April 8 as Lansing Fallen Heroes Memorial Day in their honor. In observance of this day, Museum Curator Barb Dust has created a special exhibit with memorabilia and information about their lives. “We have put up a display for the two young men and kept a sort of a vigil all day on April 8 for friends and family to come and remember and the rest of the village to come and learn about who they were,” she says.

Officer Novak, End of Watch: 4/8/1992 (Photo: Dan Bovino)
LCPL Martini: KIA 4/8/2006 (Photo: Dan Bovino)

The vigil includes video of Novak’s funeral and news coverage about his death. The museum will have extended hours that day—9:00am–7:30pm.

The display also includes an explanation of the meaning of Gold Star Mothers as well as additional memorabilia of Ron Beuster, Lansing’s first casualty of the Vietnam War.

The exhibit will remain in place for the remainder of the month and can be viewed during regular museum hours:

  • Mondays, 6:00–8:00pm
  • Wednesdays, 3:00–5:00pm
  • Saturdays, 11:00am–1:00pm

The Lansing Historical Museum is located in the lower level of the Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Avenue. For more information, contact Barb Dust at 708-474-7497.

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