NEW BEDFORD — During the month of May, the 476th flag to fly atop Old Glory Tower in the North End honors the memory of Army PFC Manuel B. "Doc" Simmons of New Bedford. Mr. Simmons was inducted into the U.S. Army on Aug. 19, 1943 and served in the 39th Infantry Medical Detachment. He served during World War II as a medic in many battles and campaigns including Normandy, Northern France, Central Europe, Rhineland and Ardennes. PFC Simmons was wounded on March 14, 1945 in Rheinbreitback, Germany. He received the Good Conduct medal, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with five battle stars, the Purple Heart, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star Medal. He was honorably discharged on Aug. 1, 1945. Simmons was a lifelong resident of New Bedford and was employed by his family business, Simmons Oil Co. here until his retirement. He was married to Jean L. (Heroux) Simmons for 49 years and had two daughters, Patricia McKay and Bethany Burnett of New Bedford, one son, Michael B. Simmons, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mrs. Simmons explained that her children often commented that she "married one in a million" and that they were a perfect match. Simmons wanted his wife to honor his memory by flying a flag in his honor at the Old Glory Tower. Years ago, Mr. Simmons had commented "someday, Jean, my flag is going to be flying there." Shortly before he passed away, she promised him she would have the flag flown on his behalf. The late Joseph Theodore, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient, began the practice of flying veterans' flags above the Old Glory Tower 44 years ago. Linda Ferreira, a marketing representative at Ashley Ford in New Bedford, researches the life histories of area veterans. Paul Neary, general manager of the dealership, raises the memorial flags on the veterans' behalf. Those who would like to honor a veteran by flying a flag at Old Glory Tower can contact Ferreira at (508) 996-5611 or at
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