|This photo was originally posted by me on January 15, 2009 in a blog about my late grandmother, entitled Alma Newton Davis. My grandfather's name and birth date were already etched on the headstone at that time.|
My grandfather was born in 1922. He died at the happy age of 89 leaving behind 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. He was an amazing man, never afraid to learn new things, one of the most computer literate people I have ever met, interested in history and politics, art and nature. One of the things I am most proud of him for is the time he spent in the Army during World War II. He was a medic and was part of the US military presence that liberated the concentration camp at Dachau. I visited Dachau in 1999 and the devastation and ghastliness of the place is something I will carry with me forever. I can only imagine what he saw and felt in those dark days.
We were able to locate his military discharge papers and arrange an honor guard at his graveside for the burial. It was an incredibly moving experience. Three members of the Army met us at the cemetery, saluting my grandfather's flag-draped coffin as it was carried from the hearse to the grave site. One of them stood a few yards off and played the mournful strains of taps. The two remaining officers then removed the flag from the coffin, folded it, saluted it, and presented it to my mother saying these words: "This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service."
A grateful nation. I could scarcely draw breath at those beautiful words. I was and am so proud.