Faithful service

Today is Memorial Day, a national holiday in the United States that “commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.”

My late father was a veteran of World War II. Even though he had been out of the Army for sixty years when he died in 2006, I still would like to honor his memory this day.

burial-flag-for-veterans
“On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

Dad served in the European Theater as a corporal with “C” Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster from being wounded twice by mortar fire while advancing with his unit toward the village of Cheneux, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

He was buried with full military honors, which included a rifle salute, the playing of taps, and the folding and presentation of the flag (and spent shells) to his widow (my mother) by fellow veterans of the 82nd.

This moving ceremony demonstrated the strong bond among veterans, their appreciation for the sacrifices each other has made, and their personal call to publicly acknowledge the service of their departed comrades.

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