Monday, June 20, 2011

First Sergeant Walter R. McRae, Jr., United States Army, Ret.

Walter McRae, Jr. was born February 14, 1953 in San Antonio, Texas and passed away June 11, 2011, at the age of 58, at his home in Belton, Texas, with his wife, Sally, at his side.

Walter proudly served his country in the United States Army for 23 years and retired in 1993 with the rank of First Sergeant. He was a veteran of the Desert Storm war. His many military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal for heroism in combat, the Army Commendation Medal and six awards of the Good Conduct Medal.

After his retirement, he began the business Diamond Liners Truck Accessories in Temple and Killeen, Texas. He retired from that, closing his business in 2010, and was employed at the time of his death as a General Manger at Advance Auto Parts in Temple.

Walter enjoyed scuba diving, RVing and his dogs and cat.

On June 16 a Memorial Service was held for Walter at the Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen, Texas. Patriot Guard Riders of Central Texas were present to form a line of American flags at the entrance to welcome the arriving family and friends. After the service, the Riders led the funeral procession to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen for inurnment with full military honors. At the cemetery, other Riders, and American flags, welcomed the arriving funeral party.

A family friend offered final thoughts and prayers for the gathered family and friends.

The United States Army Honor Guard rendered military honors. The rifle detail, standing in the shade of live oak trees above the columbarium wall, fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country. The Army bugler played taps, as the American flag flew at half-staff on the hill above.

The Honor Guard, then, carefully unfolded the flag that had rested against the urn and refolded it into the traditional triangle. The flag was ceremoniously passed to an Army Sergeant First Class who presented it to Sally on behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation for Walter's many years of faithful service.

The cremains of First Sergeant Walter R. McRae, Jr. were then placed into a niche of the collumbarium wall as his family gathered around under the bright Texas sun, and sealed for all of eternity.

Left to cherish his memory are Sally, his son PJ, two grandchildren, two brothers, four sisters and numerous other dear family, friends and co-workers.

God Bless America

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God Bless America,
Land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

- Irving Berlin -

With thanks to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home for biographical information and photograph.

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