Life is put into perspective by people who sacrifice.  Staff Sgt. Harold E. “Barney” Kuhn gave his country the last full measure of devotion.

I shed tears when I noticed Main Street was adorned in flags

An uncle of my late father, “Barney” was buried over the weekend in a family plot in rural Friendship, New York.  The ceremony took place nearly three-quarters of a century after he was killed-in-action in World War Two.  As I discussed last week modern DNA testing confirmed his remains in July.

I was privileged to be flown home by the U.S. Army and attended the ceremony.  When I drove into the tiny town I shed tears when I noticed Main Street was adorned in flags.  These had been flying since last Thursday when his casket arrived at the funeral home.  I’m told schoolchildren had lined the street and placed hands over their hearts as the cortege passed.  On the way to the cemetery People emerged from shops and did the same.

After a 21 gun salute and Taps a flag was presented to one of my aunts.  She is the last living person we know about with any memory of the man.  Before leaving I drove down the street where he had lived before enlisting.  The house is the same but for a garage addition.  A flag was hanging from the front porch.  While wealthy athletes disrespect the flag and our national anthem I can only say I’m deeply appreciative of the legacy.  We may not live in a better world, however.  Without hundreds of thousands giving their lives for a noble cause our planet would likely be a far worse place in contemporary times.

Picture by Bill Colley.
Picture by Bill Colley.

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