When they played taps, Cheryl Luce recalls, there wasn’t a dry eye in the gathering.
The ashes of her father, James Smith, who died in February at the age of 81, were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Words can’t describe it,” Luce, of Oregon, said of the July 23 ceremony that honored her father, a Purple Heart recipient who fought in the Korean War. “The color guard, there was a 21-gun salute; they presented a folded flag to us. It was all so impressive.”
Smith, a native of West Virginia who later moved to Oregon, was one of several area veterans featured in The Press in 2001 during the 50th anniversary of the war when the U.S. Department of Defense undertook what it called the Commemorative Community Program to honor Korean War veterans and their families.
In September, 1950, 22-year-old Cpl. James Smith had a peaceful landing at Inchon where his unit was assigned to provide right flank protection for Marines spearheading an amphibious attack.
Later action, however, would be a nightmare that he’d remember for years.
He kept a tribute written for and by his comrades prominently displayed in his home:
“The Chosin Few”
“Whatever we were in that frozen long ago,and whatever we are now, We are bound as one for life, In an exclusive fraternity of honor, The only way into our ranks, Is to have paid the dues of duty, sacrifice and valor By being there.
The cost of joining, in short, is beyond all earthly wealth.”
Luce said her 6-6 father joked about being “volunteered” to carry the radio during his tour, saying others told him because of his height the radio got better reception.
Smith’s other daughter, Kathi Kimling, Southgate, Mich., also attended the ceremony.
His remains were placed in the Columbarium wall at the cemetery.