Lester Senior Housing Community Resident Celebrates Independence Day with Family’s Historic World War I Flag; Martin Sherman Memorializes Flag He Has Cherished for 80 Years

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Martin Sherman, a resident at Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany, will proudly display a very special historic flag on Independence Day: the original World War I-era artifact which has been in his family and cherished for more than 80 years.

Martin Sherman proudly displays his cherished WWI flag at Lester Senior Housing Community.

It is very important to me that it is displayed on all the appropriate national holidays.

Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day are the special occasions when Martin Sherman, a resident at Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany, displays a very special, historic flag. The original World War I-era artifact had draped his uncle’s coffin when the veteran of that war passed away in the 1930s; it’s been in the Sherman family ever since, proudly displayed on national holidays and will be exhibited at the senior living community for Independence Day this July fourth.

“As Memorial Day approached last month, Mr. Sherman showed us this 100-year-old flag with 48 stars on it, and told the residents and staff the poignant story about his uncle who had served in the army in World War I,” said Harold Colton- Max, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey, which manages the Lester Senior Housing Community. “The story was very touching so when Mr. Sherman asked us to hang up the flag for the holiday, the staff immediately found a spot for it.”

Sherman’s Uncle Jake saw combat action in World War I when he was in his early-to-mid 20s, and suffered from the after effects of gassing and shell shock; he returned stateside and lived the rest of his relatively short life in a hospital. Sherman remembers visiting his uncle as a young child and watching him pace back and forth endlessly, only responding to simple yes-or-no questions. Otherwise he never spoke and died 17 years after returning home, in his mid-40s. Uncle Jake received a military veteran’s funeral with the authentic World War I-period flag covering his coffin. The flag was then given to Sherman’s mother in honor of her deceased brother and it’s been in the family ever since.

“When I was younger, we would hang the flag in our front living room window for all the appropriate holidays,” said Sherman, who served in the Navy during World War II. “It’s very important to me that it be displayed at the proper time,” he added.

Sherman has lived at the Lester Senior Housing Community for approximately four-and-a-half years and cited the breadth of activities and cultural programs as an enjoyable part of the Lester lifestyle. He said he particularly enjoys the music programs and lectures.

The Lester Senior Housing Community is located at 903 Route 10 East in Whippany on the Aidekman Jewish Federation campus. It is one of four senior living communities in Essex and Morris counties managed by The Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC), which offers older adults a variety of housing options, amenity packages, and a full range of social, cultural, and enrichment activities. For more information about JCHC visit http://www.jchcorp.org, call 973-731-2020, or email lauriel(at)jchcorp(dot)org.

Martin Sherman, a resident at Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany, N.J., shows off the 100-year-old flag that has been in his family for many decades. It was used to drape the coffin of Sherman’s uncle, who was injured during World War I, and will be on display at the senior residence for Independence Day this year.


About the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey
Founded in 1982, the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) developed and manages more than 475 apartments in four buildings for older adults in Morris and Essex counties in northern New Jersey. The non-profit organization offers seniors a range of options in terms of services, amenities, location, and cost, all within a traditional Jewish environment. The JCHC provides housing, programs, and services for the independent elderly as well as those who need assisted living. For more information, go to http://www.jchcorp.org.

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Maria Paladino-Fitz
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