June 6th, 2010 07:33 PM
Remembering Sam, and others like him.....
"Sam" , a great guy, funny, and the attention at any gathering, could be a quiet and very serious person as well. He was a very conscientious person, of Lebanese ancestary, a WWII verteran, and had spent his life in the Army. He retired a Bird Col. and my father was one of his "old army buddies from WWII", as well as one of his best friends the rest of both their lives. So, I often saw and spent time with Sam as I grew up. He was one of those guys would literally give the shirt off his back to someone who needed one. He was extremely honest and could be a direct person as well. He was a guy who honestly cared about people. So, what I learned later... didn't suprise me.
Many men that I knew as I grew up .... from little on up were Generals, Majors, Col's, Sgt's, etc. were also 'war buddies' with Sam and had all served together. They were a tight knit group. I always found anyone who knew Sam seemed to not only love him, but have the highest respect for him. One reason was, he was the most dedicated man to the Army and our Country you will ever find.
Two comments were said one day that really caught my ear, " if it weren't for Sam, none of us would be here", and " you remember that poor soldier we found in the forest, Sam made them pay for that".
I asked my father about this later and he explained... which surprised me because he would not normally talk about the war. He said, as funny as Sam was, he was the guy you wanted covering your back in a fight. He went on to tell me about several incidences that I won't go into here ... but to say the least, Sam was the man you would want covering your back in a battle ... who, let's just say, didn't like it much when someone was trying to kill his friends and was resourceful to say the least in putting a stop to it. And, he did get even for the soldier they found who had been tortured by the German's while hanging from a tree in the forest.
These were men who had served in Patton's 3rd Army during the 100 mile march in the freezing cold to free Bastogne right after being in a major battle , who had found and freed the first concentration camp in the war, and who saw more than anyone should have have to see or experience for their country, or us. There is one River where the near mention of it will get an "oh, that was terrible"..... and I had been told the river was mostly red from the amount of blood in it.
At his funeral, and as an older man, retired from the Army for awhile, there was supposed to be an honor guard there. The Honor Guard however could not get there due to being snowed in. It appeared a excuse, because the snow storm wasn't that bad. The retired Generals, Cols, Majors, Sgts, etc. there all seemed very very disturbed and disgruntled about it. Many were too old at that point to do anything. It was hard enough for them to get out, let alone stand around in the freezing cold weather.
I approached my father and asked him, can we get enough "volunteers" here to at least do the ceremonial carrying him in and folding of the flag ourselves ? He asked me rather shockingly, "are you serious ?". I told him, what better honor for SAM than to have his 'buddies' doing it, and I didn't think SAM should be buried without an honor guard, official or not. It was just not RIGHT, ya know what I mean, not this man.
They huddled in their group and talked. My brother, was an active Colonel, and he came by in a hurry and told me, "I'll be back, boy have you opened a can of worms.... I have to find some volunteers and get riflemen up here now ... I hope I don't get in deep for doing this ". Then I saw my father go over and talk with Sam's son, wife and family. Then he came back over to where I was. He said, "you started this, and everyone agreed... the family is holding off on the grave side services for 1- 1 1/2 hrs ..... but we need 1 more and you are it". Two older retired generals there, out of about 7 there, came over to me ... patted me on the back, smiled, and said "thanks, it's the only right thing for us to do for Sam ".
I had seen many of the ceremonies and knew them all by heart, and I had even worked for the Army in an experimental program, but I was not ex-military.
In the meantime the "call " had gone out among them. Arrangements to 'friends' who were retired Reservists to get out there with rifles asap. The buglar, was a guy who fought in WWII with Sam and called his wife to get his bugle out there to him fast.
Apparently this has to be all sanctioned by the Army, and since this was rather an impromptu deal, some thought they would be in big trouble if it were ever found out they did it.
So, we did the ceremony, and I was truly "honored" to be one of the ones involved, and being one of the one's folding that flag for SAM.... a man who had served this country all his life and who had fought for it with everything he had. I have to say, I have never witnessed a better honor guard in my life ..... nor a ceremony that went so flawlessly.
Sam, got one of the best group of men to be his honor guard.... all of his war buddies and who had served with him over all of those years, and who were his friends. His wife made one comment about it , "she said Sam would have been so proud to know it was you men, who honored him in this way ".
I got a pat on the back from all of the military men there (retired and active) and told what a great job I did. I told them, all I did was pay honor to Sam for all he's done, and you and Sam are the one's who deserve the thanks from all of us ...
RIP Sam, and all American's who have served like you.
Last edited by Eagleks; June 7th, 2010 at 02:24 PM.
June 6th, 2010 11:05 PM
Great gesture. Thanks for what you did and thanks for the post...
Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.
June 6th, 2010 11:18 PM
Had to wipe my eyes. Proper send off for his final journey.
June 7th, 2010 12:40 AM
People like Sam know what honor is
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
June 7th, 2010 06:26 AM
Great post...paying a last tribute to a good soldier.
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June 7th, 2010 07:47 AM
Got a bit misty-eyed when reading. You did fine, I'm sure the Veterans that you assisted feel the same way, because you understand.
Brings back memories of my WWI Grandfather who with his complete uniform on would go to Memorial Day services with little me (in quasi-uniform) to give thanks for our fallen soldiers.
I too have never been in the Military but come from a long line of soldiers stretching back from the French & Indian War all the way to the present.
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June 7th, 2010 03:21 PM
Thank YOU....for stepping up for HIM.
I know Sam appreciated your kind gesture. I know his friend's and "brothers in arms" appreciated someone recognizing his/their sacrifices, as well.
Stop acting like we're fightin' for "freedom". We are ALREADY....free.
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