Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Walter Stanley Burkhart, United States Air Force (Ret)

Walter Stanley Burkhart, United States Air Force (Ret)

Walter Burkhart was born July 21, 1925 in Murengo, Illinois and passed away July 13, 2010 at Temple, Texas at the age of 84.

Walter proudly served his country in the United States Army and the United States Air Force.  He enlisted in the Army in 1950, at the age of 25, and served for two years.  After his discharge he returned to the farm in Illinois.  He soon realized that military life was preferable, so he enlisted in the Air Force and served for 22 years, retiring with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

In 2002 he became a resident at the Veteran’s Home in Temple.  There he led morning exercise classes, fed the birds and the cats, and read the morning paper to other residents.

On July 27, 2010 Patriot Guard Riders led a funeral procession from Belton, Texas to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen, Texas for final services with military honors for this member of “the greatest generation”.

The procession was greeted at the cemetery by fifty American flags, gently waving in the morning Texas wind.  Walter’s casket was moved from the hearse into the committal shelter and the Riders formed a line of American flags around the shelter during the final services.

An Air Force Honor Guard folded the flag covering the casket into a tight triangle and presented it to Walter’s niece on behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation for Walter’s faithful and dedicated service.

The Air Force rifle detail fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country, followed by the playing of taps by the Air Force bugler.

Final services were conducted by a minister who sang “America the Beautiful” and led the gathering in “Amazing Grace” and The Lord’s Prayer.

Walter was then laid to rest on the gentle slope of the cemetery as the American flag flew at half-staff, in his honor, on the hill top above.

Left to cherish his memory are his sister, niece and many dear friends.

With thanks to the Temple Daily Telegraph for biographical information.

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