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WWII vet honored with quilt
With a Quilt of Valor draped over his shoulders, World War II veteran Carl Munz receives hugs from friends and family after being given the quilt from Sugar River Quilts of Valor on Wednesday morning at the Behring Senior Center. He was honored for his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. (Times photos: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - A Monroe World War II veteran who saw fighting on the storied island of Iwo Jima was awarded a Quilt of Valor Wednesday during a ceremony at the Behring Senior Center.

Carl Munz, a 94-year-old WWII veteran, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946, fighting in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

Munz's military career saw him fighting to take the Japanese island of Iwo Jima in one of the most significant battles of the war, one he called "8 square miles of hell." Nearly 7,000 American soldiers were killed during the month-long battle and more than 19,000 were wounded.

After the war was over, Munz continued his service in occupied Japan.

Munz, who has lived in Monroe for most of his life and has two children and five grandchildren, said he personally knew the six Marines depicted in the historic photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the raising of a U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945.

"I was going to go back there sometime with Rosenthal, but the trip kept getting delayed," Munz said. "After the fourth time it was delayed I gave up on it."

Vicki Sasso, a volunteer for Sugar River Quilts of Valor, said the Quilt of Valor represents the highest honor a civilian can bestow on a soldier, calling them "instruments of love," with each stitch representing the love and support of the maker.

In this case, the quilt's maker was volunteer Linda Stoltz, who said the quilts take about three months to complete.

"It feels good," Munz said of receiving the quilt. "I just can't believe it. I don't know what else to say."

"Veteran, welcome home," Sasso said as she draped the quilt about Munz's shoulders. "You are our hero."