~A journey through the decades~

Published: Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM.

Finally my Dad was getting his parade. I could see the confusion in his eyes so I leaned over to him and said “Dad, you remember that World War II medal that the Army owes you?  Well, these men are bringing it to you!”    I was close enough to see the surprise……the shock  and a glimpse of a 17 year old boy who had joined a “Man’s Army”  64 years ago.  It is a memory that I will carry with me always.

As the rumbling of the motorcycles died down, Wounded Warrior (and Purple Heart recipient) Cpl. Jeremy Matt Cabaniss (Ret.) stepped forward to present Private First Class James O. Middleton with his long-awaited World War II Victory medal and Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.  Other Veterans and members of the NWF Warrior’s watch Riders stepped up to present him with a World War II hat, WWR certificate and booklet and two medallions. 

As the Veteran’s saluted PVT Middleton, he snapped to attention and saluted them back.  If that were not enough to bring tears to your eyes……then Mary Lou Cumbie led the entire group singing “God Bless America” and had every one wiping their eyes. Red and blue balloons were tossed in the air and Happy Birthday was the final song of the day.  When asked to make a speech my Dad stated “That it was just too much for words” and he made his way into the crowd to thank everyone personally.  After the crowd filled up on Paul Gant BBQ they were treated to one of Mary Lou’s finest homemade chocolate cakes. 

As the crowd started to disperse and the rumbling of motorcycles was a sound in the distance……I saw my grandchildren playing with balloons, flags and garland and I looked down at the silver chain around my neck that holds the dog tag of James O Middleton- Regular Army 1946.  My granddaughter hugged me and said “Best Day EVER Nana.” 

And I smiled and had to agree with her….Best Day EVER!

Thank you to the United States Army, NWF Warrior’s Watch Riders (and other riders), Semper Fi Sisters, CVMA, The Wounded Warriors and the City of Mexico Beach for helping my entire family make a forever memory.  For more information on the Warrior’s Watch Riders   WWW.warriorswatch.org.

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