The second Saturday in August is special. It’s reunion day for former members of Company B 151st Engineer Combat Bn. who served in Korea during the Korean War.
I was reminded of that again Saturday as I had the pleasure and honor of attending the festivities as a guest of the unit. It had been several years since I last attended, and it was good to catch up with many men, their wives and children and the families of others who have passed on from this life.
Many left Scottsboro as mere boys. They came home as men.
It was an honor to stand at attention and sing our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with them.
It was an honor to sing “America the Beautiful” with these men.
It was an honor to break bread with them and to watch their smiles, their interaction with one another and experience their kindness and words of affirmation.
Growing up in Scottsboro, I looked up to many of these men and their wives. I grew up with many of their children and visited in some of their homes. I saw how they lived their lives and contributed to the community they called home. I learned from their example of hard work and willingness to put others above self.
On Saturday, I found out several more members of the unit had passed away. The group now numbers in the thirties but those remaining still gather to reminisce about serving together and to honor their former comrades. They bring family members and welcome and recognize family of those who they served with. On Saturday, 82 people gathered to remember and plans are underway for the 2018 event.
The group of men, 164 strong, deployed on Aug. 14, 1950. They were young patriots. They all came home safe and sound and aren’t afraid to credit God above for His hand in that.
As guest speaker Lt. General (Ret) James O. Barclay indicated, these men are unique. They cared about something bigger than self and made Scottsboro a better place to live. They likely are uncomfortable in today’s “me first” society.
He’s right. They cared about one another, their loved ones back home, their city, county and country. They still do. That is reason enough to hold these men up as examples of how life should be lived.
Company B, thanks isn’t enough, but it is all I can offer. God bless each of you and bring you back safely to the 68th reunion next year to remember the historic day when you marched off to war. Your place as a great team is written in history