PEORIA -- A tribute to Naval Commander Frank W. "Spig" Wead highlights the annual Veteran's Day ceremony at Springdale Cemetery this year. It takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.
The event, sponsored by the Soldier Hill Volunteers, features Springdale historian Linda Aylward in a tribute to Commander Wead, a pioneer naval aviator who became an honored screenwriter. He is buried at historic Springdale Cemetery, 3014 N. Prospect.
Weed was born in 1895, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1917, and after World War I helped promote naval aviation. In 1926 he was paralyzed from a fall down stairs, and began writing while convalescing.
He then collaborated with director John Ford on many films, and received two Academy Award nominations in 1938, for Best Original Story for Test Pilot and for Best Screenplay for The Citadel.
The well known film Wings of Eagles was based on Wead's life.
He returned to the Navy during World War II, where he helped integrate the use of escort carriers to support the main battle line and beach landings. He died in 1947.
Springdale Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and contains burial sites for veterans from all US wars including the Revolution, state and local political and civic leaders and other notables.