A father’s flag presented on Memorial Day

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amos Leroy Graves served his country in the United States Navy from 1940 until 1943.

Like most all of those who served during World War II, he came home to Troy and went right back to work and on with his life.

His country didn’t owe him a thing.

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He was proud to have served. And, that was the end of that.

It was business as before for the Greatest Generation.

“Roy” Graves, a retired mechanic, died in 1978.

Thirty-two years later, at the Elam Cemetery Memorial Day program on Monday, his daughter, Ann Graves Parish, was presented an American Flag in honor of his service.

Parish said there are no words to express what the Memorial Day program and the presentation meant to her and her family.

“It was overwhelming,” she said.

“For several months, we had been talking about getting a flag in recognition of Daddy’s service. But I didn’t just want to go to the post office and pick one up. I wanted to do something more meaningful than that.”

Parish shared her thoughts with Neil Thrasher, a member of VFW Post 7055, and he suggested making the presentation at the Elam Cemetery Memorial Day program.

“When Daddy died, my mother and I were so much in shock that we didn’t think about a flag or maybe we didn’t even know about getting one,” said Parish, who is an only child.

“Later, when we found out about the flag but we thought it was too late. We did get the military foot maker, though, and I know Daddy would have wanted that.”

Amos LeRoy Graves never talked about his military service.

“I never really asked him and it is to my regret that I didn’t,” Parish said.

“I didn’t ask because it might bring up memories he wanted to forget. From what I’ve heard, many World War II veterans don’t talk much about their experiences. But I do know that, at one time, my daddy and three of his brothers and a sister were all serving their country during war time.”

Parish said the flag presentation in memory of her dad meant more to her than words can express.

“It was a very moving and, like the words in Lenny Trawick’s song said, the men who fought during World War II were ‘just ordinary men’ who were willing to fight for freedom. They were unlikely heroes but they were heroes.”

Parish expressed appreciation to VFW Post 7055 and Randy Ross, Pike County veterans affairs officer, for making it possible for her and her family to receive the flag that recognized the service of her dad, Amos Leroy Graves, in such a special and memorable way.