SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar gathered with community members, veterans groups and the family and friends of Marine Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier in Bunker Hill today for a road naming ceremony in honor of the Vietnam veteran.
Earlier this spring, the Illinois General Assembly adopted Manar’s Senate Joint Resolution 9, which designates a stretch of Illinois Highway 159 between Detour Road and Illinois Route 16 in Bunker Hill as the “Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier Memorial Highway.”
“It can be far too easy for us to remain so focused on what’s going on in our own busy lives that we forget those who make it possible for us to live them,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “The sacrifices made by our veterans are the reason we have the freedoms we so often take for granted. That’s why it’s important for us to do things like we did here today.”
Charles Heinemeier was born in Alton on March 2, 1949 to John and Lela Heinemeier. He graduated from Bunker Hill High School in 1967, where he played basketball and baseball. Following his graduation, he worked in construction at McCann Concrete and the Olin Corporation.
Heinemeier enlisted in the U.S. Marines in May of 1968 and attended his basic training in California. Six months later, he was sent to Vietnam.
He was killed in action on August 21, 1969 while serving with the 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam, Vietnam.
Heinemeier was remembered by his fellow soldiers as having a positive attitude even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
“Your son was our morale booster,” Heinemeier’s commanding office wrote to his mother after his death. “We wouldn’t have made it through without him.”
He was posthumously awarded three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.
“Wherever he was, Lance Corporal Heinemeier made a positive impact in the lives of others,” Manar said. “It’s my hope that, by renaming this road, Lance Corporal Heinemeier’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.”