WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Remembering Iwo Jima Veteran John Moon

Nov 1, 2019

A Celebration of Life service will be held next week for John Moon.  Western Illinois University called the Macomb man the oldest known survivor of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

The Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home in Macomb said Moon passed away peacefully October 29 at the nursing care facility in Wesley Village of Macomb. He was 103.

The Celebration of Life memorial service for Moon will be held Thursday, November 7, 10:00 a.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held Wednesday, November 6, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home.

On October 5, 2011, Moon was interviewed for the Western Illinois Museum’s Veterans Oral History Project.  He spoke with Tim and Max Howe. Moon told them he signed up for the military after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

“I told my wife the newspaper and the news media are all showing that it’s going to be the last war. This will be the war to end all wars,” Moon said.

“Of course it wasn’t but I was gullible and I believed it. So I said to my wife I need to enlist in the Marine Corps and help this world become safe for that little boy to grow up in.”

The hour-long conversation is archived at the Western Illinois Museum. You can listen to an excerpt on the museum’s website.

Moon’s obituary said he received the Purple Heart before the Army discharged him in September, 1945.

During his life, Moon worked a variety of jobs. He ran a pair of restaurants in Macomb, sold insurance, and taught driver education at Macomb High School.

Moon graduated from Western Illinois University before World War II. He returned to his alma mater in January, 2017, as a centenarian to sing the Star Spangled Banner before a women’s basketball game.