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franklin county times

I have proud memories of military service

By Bob Stickley

I spent several years while I was in the military commanding an honor guard for the 1st Infantry Division.

The Division was also known as the Big Bloody Red — a name it received from its bloody battles against the German Army in World War II — and was one of the most decorated Divisions to serve our country. I was proud to be a part of it.

The Honor Guard and I went to several interesting places and performed for many dignitaries.

One of the trips I am most proud of is the trip to Remagen, Germany to dedicate a monument to all of the men of the Infantry that died while fighting the Germans.

I had the opportunity to shake hands and speak with Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

Another interesting trip was to Paris, where we marched in a parade past the Eiffel Tower.

We also went to Berchtesgarten, Germany, which is where Hitler’s SS barracks were located. We also saw many German bunkers.

After returning to the United States, we performed on many city streets around the country.

We went to Omaha, Neb. in 1955 to take part in the Diamond Jubilee Celebration, which marked the 100th anniversary of the city.

Another trip we took was to Fort Leavenworth to greet the Secretary of the Army. We camped on a hillside and an awful storm came along and washed mud over us.

You can’t imagine how muddy our spit-shined boots, khaki uniforms, white belts and white rifles looked. The Secretary said we were a sharp bunch of troops, mud and all.

One of the more interesting trips we took in the United States was to Soldier Field in Chicago in 1956. We performed our drill routine in front of thousands of fans as part of the Armed Forces Benefit Game between the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns.

Between the drill exhibitions, a group of seven men and myself acted as a firing squad for military funerals. We helped bury veterans throughout Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska.

As I look back on the many years that have passed, I wouldn’t trade any part of those great memories of the years I spent in service.

I encouraged three sons to join the military, as I truly believe it’s the best thing any young person can do.

I guarantee it will make a difference in any young person’s life by teaching respect and love for our country.

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