Traverse City Welcomes Son Of Medal Of Honor Recipient, VA Renames Clinic In Recognition
"It brings me back to where he was born, where he was raised and where he started his life,” says Nicholas Craw, the son of an American hero.
The son of Traverse City’s only recipient of the Medal of Honor has returned to his father’s hometown.
Colonel Demas Craw served in both World Wars and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after he was killed in the line of duty in the year 1942 during a mission in France.
His son, who was five at the time, has now come back to the colonel’s birthplace to see how the city is honoring the war hero.
"He died in action and, the way that he died, he saved literally thousands of American lives,” says Dr. Dan Lathrop, Grand Traverse County commissioner and event coordinator.
A heroic history showing what it takes to be a true American hero lies behind the name Col. Demas Craw.
Friday night, the city Col. Craw once called home is standing tall just for him.
"He’s been forgotten and so a group of soldiers and citizens have come together to revive his memory and realize, again, his immense sacrifice for our country,” Dr. Lathrop says.
In doing so, the city will now rename the local VA clinic in Craw’s honor, officially being called the Demas T. Craw VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.
"His medal was given posthumously to his 5-year-old son by President Roosevelt at the White House,” Dr. Lathrop says. “His son will be here."
Nicholas Craw, former president of the Peace Corps, flew all the way from Colorado to be here and received the welcome home his father never got.
"People here in the local community had discovered that he was the only Medal of Honor recipient from Traverse City and they decided that it was a travesty for it to be so unknown,” Craw says.
A three-star general stood with the Freedom and Legion Riders to greet Nicholas at the gate — transformed into a hallway of flags.
Fire trucks also sprayed water in salute over the runway.
"That was very moving, very heartwarming. Totally unexpected,” Craw says. “Obviously, somebody had given a lot of thought to it and I think that, in itself, was very pleasing."
Decades after losing his father — his hero — Nicholas wants to see the colonel remembered, in full.
"It’s everything,” Craw says. “This was something that had happened in my life more than 70 years ago and so it is not a distant memory. It is a very fresh memory, and to have him recognized and so honored by the community which raised him means everything to me."