A Hero Soldier's last request.......
Just thought I'd pass this story along......
Father, infant son buried side-by-side in military cemetery
It was a bittersweet reunion 12 years in the making, but Joseph David deMoors' last wish has come true.
The 36-year-old U.S. Army lieutenant was killed in Iraq in January and buried at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in Alabama near Fort Benning, Ga., the next month.
What he wanted, however, was to be interred alongside his infant son Gabriel, who died at 3 months in Salt Lake City on Valentine's Day in 1994.
But Gabriel, who died of sudden infant death syndrome, was interred in the Salt Lake City Cemetery and the deMoors family lacked the funds to move his body. The family, which includes three other children, left Utah several years ago and now lives in Peachtree City, Ga.
But on Friday, with the help of the Patriot Guard Riders, a 50,000-member national support group for military families, the wish came true, said Kurt Mayer, the group's deputy director.
Patriot Guard Riders, who attend military funerals nationwide, raised $5,000 to have Gabriel deMoors' coffin transferred from Salt Lake City to Fort Mitchell. Delta Airlines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines, pitched in and covered flight costs, he said.
At dawn Friday, draped in a flag from his father's 3rd Calvary Unit and with a motorcycle escort, the tiny coffin left a Salt Lake City funeral home for the airport. In Georgia, a color guard accompanied the infant's body to the cemetery, where it was reburied as several hundred mourners looked on.
James deMoor's widow, Vendella deMoors, said she only learned of her husband's wish after he was already buried. A message recorded from Iraq included a final message: "If anything should happen, I want to be buried next to Gabriel," James deMoors said.
On Friday, the deMoors family was feeling happy, not sad, according to a family friend.
"Vendella is ecstatic this is coming to pass," friend said Chip Oehring said. "This is not a time of mourning. This is a time of celebration."
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