World War II Army veteran gives final salute on Veterans Day
GLENVILLE, N.Y. — A World War II veteran gave his final salute on Veterans Day.
The proud 98-year-old was too weak to leave his bed in Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the nursing home’s veterans parade and luncheon.
But Justus Belfield insisted on wearing his Army uniform one more time. The master sergeant asked to be dressed in the dress green he had worn for every patriotic occasion since he and his wife, Lillian, moved to the upstate New York nursing home several years ago.
Christine Camp, who works in the center’s activities department, was with Belfield and his wife Tuesday morning.
“I leaned down and I looked at him, and I said, ‘Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service,’ ” she recalled.
In response, he gave a slow but strong salute.
Belfield, who spent 16 years in the Army, including fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, died early Wednesday.
Barbara Bradt, the activities director, remembers the “spark for life” Belfield had.
“He taught me no matter how old you are, you keep going, you put a smile on your face,” she said.
He was buried Friday with military honors in Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.