Media Release - Lt. George E Key, WWII Veteran-Great Great Grandson to Francis Scott Key

WWII First Wave Normandy Landing Soldier and Great Great Grandson to Francis Scott Key Receives Full Honor Funeral at Miramar National Cemetery

Lt George E Key Elder

September 14, 2021 – A procession of 250 Military and First Responder Motorcycle Riders will escort WWII Veteran Lt. George E. Key from Lesneski Mortuary in San Clemente to his final resting place at Miramar National Cemetery on Friday, September 24, 2021. The public is invited to join senior members of the military to attend the Miramar Service at 10:30 am featuring Full Honors and a WWII Bomber “Missing Man” formation flyover.

Lt. George E. Key was among thousands of U.S. troops who landed on the bloody beaches of Normandy on the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of France; setting out to rescue Europe from Nazi oppression. In D-Day’s aftermath, George risked his life well into the following winter: surviving the bloody, bitter-cold Battle of the Bulge. Years later, he also served in the Korean War.

George Edward Key, Sr. was also the great, great grandson of Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Over the past 25 years, he was an exuberant supporter of the American flag which carried special significance to George. It served as a reminder of all that has been sacrificed for the nation he loved and the opportunities he had been given.

George was a sought-after guest speaker. He addressed civic organizations about the history of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and spoke at schools about the flag’s heritage.

Among his many patriotic endeavors,

  • George trained dozens of organizations on how to honorably retire the American Flag with dignity such as including the Daughters of the Revolution, the Scouts and the Young Marines who will be taking over this program from him.
  • George created the program inviting family of deceased Veterans to honor their loved ones by flying their Veteran’s Casket Flag over San Clemente City Hall. 
  • In 1998, George organized local fundraising to help the Smithsonian Institution restore a giant, 15-star American Flag that had flown over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. This flag was the inspiration for “The Star Spangled Banner.” 
  • For years, George helped organize San Clemente’s annual Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day observances; where he was a keynote speaker and laid ceremonial wreaths.

“This is a Celebration of Life for my father, “says daughter Georgia Smith. “Not only was he a courageous soldier, he was a true patriot from the Greatest Generation. He was dedicated to making his community a better place PLUS he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. We miss him terribly.”

Miramar National Cemetery is located at 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122. Arrive early for parking.

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For more information:

High-rez photos: Here

Official Obituary: Here

Links for Media: Here

Interview Contact: Georgia Smith, daughter of George E. Key, Sr. georgiamsmith@cox.net

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