This story is close to one year old now, but the details and photo of Master Sergeant Justus R. Belfield should be shared over, and over. According to family members, MSG Belfield, 98 years old, put on his Army uniform every Veteran’s Day, and his last was no different. On Veteran’s Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2014, in full uniform, he saluted, and died early the next morning. He served active duty for 16 years, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a bugler, machine gunner, and horse handler.
While my mother was not a veteran, Mr. Belfield’s spirit, like hers, touched many people. He tooted a horn tacked onto his walker, as he walked through the facility –– called the girls “beautiful,” and they called him “handsome.” He always had a smile on his face. Mom, and this brave American, made people happy. A month before his death, on September 11, 2014, he was in uniform, and stood to sing God Bless America.
World War II Veteran Justus Belfield gave his final salute on Veterans Day.
The proud 98-year-old was too weak to leave his bed at Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the nursing home’s veterans’ parade and luncheon, but there was no doubt he was there in spirit.
In honor of the day, he asked to be dressed in his olive green Army uniform, which he’d worn for every patriotic occasion since he and his wife, Lillian, moved to Baptist several years ago.
Christine Camp, who works in the center’s activities department, was with Belfield and his wife Tuesday morning. Sensing he was close to death, she decided to stay with the couple until other family members arrived.
“I could see him breathing and I leaned down and I looked at him and I said, ‘Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service,’” she recalled.
In response, he gave a slow but strong salute. Read more.
The greatest generation is almost gone, and look what we have done with their sacrifice –– given up the liberty, that so many gave all for. R.I.P. Justus R. Belfield.
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