“It’s My Honor, Sir.”
I was fortunate to witness a few private moments between a Korean War veteran and The Commanding General, First U.S. Army, who had come to help him raise a U.S. Flag at his home on Saturday.
John Parker Whitaker, "JP" returned from the hospital to his home this week after an extended illness, and upon returning, he found his home refurbished, complete with a brand new 80" TV in the living room, and a 25ft. flagpole in the front yard. Who better to help raise old glory atop that pole than a fellow Third Infantry Division Veteran who also happens to be Commanding General, First U.S. Army, Lieutenant General Thomas James?
LTG James ascended the stairs of the porch where JP was sitting, walker at his side, watching the festivities, and extended his hand. LTG James then bent to one knee so that they were eye-to-eye. The two men shared a few moments discussing the current state of Seoul, Korea, nat present one of the most advanced cities in the world, compared to when JP was serving there. They shared a laugh about how the rainy cold weather that accompanied the day's ceremony was probably nothing compared to the conditions JP saw during his service.
Other exchanges nearly brought me to tears, watching these two men, and veterans, show respect and admiration to one another for where they both had been, and what brought them together on this day. JP quietly thanked the LTG for being there, to which he replied, "It's my honor, Sir."
With that, the ceremony moved to the flagpole. LTG James and Davenport's Mayor Mike Matson raised the stars and stripes. Matson, himself an Army Veteran and Army Ranger, spoke to the other gathered dignitaries and friends before formally introducing LTG Thomas James to the crowd. James thanked JP for his service, remarked of their having served in the same division, and thanked those in attendance for honoring JP on a cold, rainy afternoon.