Arthur Middleton Parker
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Morgan Roseborough on May 5, 2013:
From the time we were assigned to the same squad in A2 during Reorganization Week 1962, Art and I became close friends. Throughout our four years at West Point, we shared a love of sports, cars, music and adventure. Tennis, squash, football, basketball - Art could do it all, and well. I wound up the loser in most of our match-ups. Fortunately for me, he was gracious and didn't seem too concerned about winning. It was the effort and the competition that seemed to reward him, not the victory.
Following a month in Germany on AOT, we took a two week leave, rented a VW beetle and set out to explore Europe. Our travels took us south through Bavaria, Austria, and northern Italy, with a stop in Venice for a couple of days. Then it was on to Nice where we spent a week on the French Riviera, with side trips to Monte Carlo and Cannes. Art's ability to converse in French greatly enhanced our stay there.
When I got engaged during June Week, I asked Art to be my best man. He agreed and six weeks later he drove to Ft. Knox for my wedding. Unfortunately, that was the last time I saw him. He went on his orders to Ranger, Airborne and then to Ft. Bragg, while I went to Airborne, Ranger and Korea. I had been back from Korea for about 4 months, and was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, when I answered the phone and Connie informed me that Art had died. That was a shock I have never forgotten. I had never been to Art's hometown, Lake City, SC, but somehow I managed to get there to attend his funeral, amidst other classmates and members of Art's family.
I had never been back to Lake City since Art's funeral, but one day, during a vacation in Myrtle Beach, I had an urge to go back there, to stand at his grave and pay my respects once more. After 40 plus years, I didn't recognize much of the town, but I did manage to find the cemetery and locate Art's grave. Strangely enough, when I read the inscription on the headstone, I realized that it was the same date that he had died (May 29).
Art was like a cousin to me; not like a brother, but definitely kin. There are not many days that I don't think about him. He was a true friend and confidant.
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