Families: defending their country helped define them as men
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The markers themselves leave room but for a few lines to sum up their service to our country. But it speaks volumes to Lenore Levy to find her husband Bernie's already in place, barely three weeks after his passing.
"There was a certain peace about coming out today," she says. "Knowing that all these other people, have suffered the same sort of loss-at one time in their lives."
She was but one of hundreds of spouses, children, friends and fellow veterans to attend a ceremony of remembrance at the Chattanooga National Cemetery this Memorial Day.
Dr. Bernard Levy served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Philippine Sea in World War II.
"He went into the Navy right out of high school," his widow says. "In fact, he was to be drafted! He went to college on the GI bill, he became a chiropractor. I would say a great deal of his becoming a man was what he learned in the Navy."
Darlene Bedford and her sister, Audrey Ramsey, would agree. Their grandfather, John Watson, served in World War II. Their father, Frederick Ramsey, answered the call to Korea. An uncle, Richard Ramsey, and a cousin, John Quincy Ramsey served in Vietnam.
"For the military guys that protected us, and gave their lives--they should be honored," Bedford says.
No fewer thaN two dozen veterans' organizations would show the colors and honor the fallen; in song, in prayers, and with the Pledge of Allegiance.
"If you are a student of history, you know how wonderful it is to be in this country," Ramsey says. "You know how precious our freedom is, and the rights that we have. I can't say how important it is, how awesome it is, that we honor their memory."
Chattanooga National is the resting place for many of Richard Harris' fellow World War II veterans. This day, he visits the grave of Joe Murphy.
"I'd guess you'd laugh, but I talk to him," he says. "We didn't meet through service, but through work. We were the best of friends, and he never would speak bad about me, or me, him."
Murphy passed away ten years ago. "Nothing, nothing any closer than a true friend," Harris says.
This day, families find comfort in the familiar. A 21-gun salute. Taps.
Many of the attendees are young. By design. Levy brought two of her granddaughters.
"I think it's important for the younger generations," she says. "To know what this country stands for, and the many people who fought to preserve it."