Photo by Chad Madden / Unsplash

Memorial Day: Remembering soldiers who gave all, came home in flag-draped coffins

Berry Craig
Berry Craig

I can see the tombstones of First Sgt. Robert Peck Hocker Jr., my father-in-law, and Pvt. First Class Hershel Jewell Stephens, no relation, from the back door of our house in Arlington, Ky.

They’re buried near each other in the town cemetery.

Stephens and Hocker were soldiers. Both left young wives when they went off to World War II. Both fought in the Philippines.

I don’t know if the two GIs knew each other. Stephens was from nearby Columbus, Kentucky.; except for his Army service, Hocker lived all his life in Arlington.

“You know, I had a dream,” says Al Stephenson, the returning Army sergeant character Fredric March plays in the classic movie, "The Best Years of our Lives." “I dreamt I was home. I've had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it's really true. Am I really home?”

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