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Remembering Flag-Wavers on Flag Day / Nick Ehrhardt

Remembering Flag-Wavers on Flag Day

Patriotic Americans often demonstrate their love of country by flying the American flag, wearing flag pins and planting small flags on veterans' graves.

Here are some flag-waving individuals, who died in recent months:

Harold Butler (Sacramento Bee)Harold "Harry" Butler Jr. – According to the obituary published in the Sacramento Bee, the retired banker was dedicated to serving his country and proved his commitment when, after having reached the time limit in his slot as a Lt. Colonel, he resigned his commission, and re-enlisted the next day as a Sergeant.

He continued his service with the 940th Air Refueling Group and the Fourth Air Force at McClellan Air Base until reaching the military mandatory retirement age of 60.

The flag of the United States flew every day at Butler's home in Carmichael until he was no longer able to carry out this assignment.

Robert Wiley (The Express-Times)Robert "Bob" Wiley – The Washington, D.C., native, served as an Army medic during the Vietnam era and became the first African American emergency medical technician in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, according to the obituary published by his family in The Express-Times of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

He always served as Flag Bearer while marching in the parade on Martin Luther King Day.

David Holbrook (The Oklahoman)David Eugene Holbrook – The retired oil man was stationed at Ft. Sill (Oklahoma) where he was a Master Sergeant and instructor of troops in Communications during World War II.

His son, David Michael, known as Mike, is a Vietnam War veteran.

Holbrook's obit in The Oklahoman contains an intriguing tidbit:

And over 40 years later he still had the small American flag that flew in front of the house while his son was in Viet Nam. An attached note explained its significance.

Too bad they didn't share the contents of that note in his obituary.

Ray Garard (Evanston Review)Ray Garard – Garard, who sold residential real estate in Winnetka, Illinois, and served on the board of directors for the Allendale School for Boys and Girls in Lake Villa, Illinois, was proud to have served in the Air National Guard.

His obit, published in the Evanston Review, says he always wore a small American flag pin on his suit lapel. One of his favorite holidays was the Fourth of July when he'd play anthems of our Armed forces loudly. He was grateful and proud to be an American.

Clive Fisher (Akron Beacon-Journal)Clive Fisher – Fisher, who served in the Army's 94th Infantry in Europe during World War II, became known as "The Flag Man," his family wrote in the obit that was published in the Akron Beacon-Journal May 24 and 25.

He always had a pocket full of flag lapel pins he passed out and a trunk full of flags to pass out. He wanted everyone to decorate their yard for the holidays. Although he won't be riding in the General's car in the Memorial Day Parade this year, his spirit will be there.

Junius Grant Jr. – A long list of ways in which Grant served the community of Jarratt, Virginia – including as fire chief and on town council for 20 years – appears in his obit in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The World War II Army veteran, who served in five campaigns in Europe, also was a quiet patriot who avidly supported numerous military and law enforcement groups.

He belonged to several Veterans' Groups, faithfully attended Veterans' Day and Memorial Day Services, placed American Legion flags on veterans' graves in several cemeteries each Memorial Day and supported the construction of the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, and the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In his honor, a brick was recently placed by his nieces and nephew in the Walkway of Honor at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

Paying tribute to patriotic Americans on Flag Day (Flickr Creative Commons | Jill)

Flickr Creative Commons | Jill

This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.