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View a eulogy for Robert Frank Serio, USMA '64, who passed away on April 17, 1968.

Robert Frank Serio

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by George Domas on June 2, 2016:

Dear Bob,
I first want to apologize for not writing this eulogy sooner. I tried several times, but each degenerated into emotional lamentations about the loss of our friendship and railings against the injustice of that nasty war we fought. I think I am more in control of my emotions now, but if I come undone, I'll just stop and continue later.

My youngest son John, my 5 year old granddaughter Vivienne, and I visited your grave site on Memorial Day, just a few days ago. I took a picture of them beside your grave stone and would have liked to have attached it to this eulogy, but couldn't. All my children are aware of our close friendship at West Point and your tragic death in Vietnam, and now my grandchildren are becoming aware also. I want your memory to endure in my family as it does in your extended family. As I reflected on your too short life, I was particularly saddened by the knowledge that you never had the opportunity to enjoy and love your children and grandchildren. We who survived are indeed very fortunate.

But, we survivors have, unfortunately, turned into those overweight, gray-haired old guys that we used to see at the Alumni Parades. You, however, remain forever young in our memory. You haven't aged a bit; you are the same handsome cadet and dashing young officer that we remember from 50 years ago. And those memories are very much alive among your classmates. Just recently Tom Harman, your old rugby teammate, related that he often thinks of you. And just a few years ago, when your father was still alive, Geoff Louis organized a mini-reunion of sorts at West Point on the anniversary of your death in honor of your father. This was attended by two high school classmates from Mount Saint Michael's and several West Point classmates who lived in the area. Your Dad was very pleased to hear all the wonderful things that were said about his son. Dave Wade has been a faithful friend and has maintained contact with your parents over the years. Through him I regained contact with your father. I enjoyed talking with him on the telephone. He was so proud of you.

I have done a lot of hiking in Europe along old pilgrimage routes. Knowing that you had graduated from Mount Saint Micheal's, when I decided to hike to Mont-St-Michel, I wanted to honor you in some way and celebrate your memory. So, I made a form with your picture at the top flanked by the West Point and Mount Saint Micheal's symbols. At each stop, when I would get my pilgrim's credential stamped, I would have them stamp your form also. I felt that you were hiking along with me. When I returned, I sent this stamped form to your Dad. He appreciated it so much that I continued to do it on other pilgrimages. Your Dad died when I was hiking to Rome. Through Dave Wade I contacted your cousin and was able to send her the most recent stamped form.

I have visited your grave site many times in the past. You are buried close to several classmates that I know were your friends. That comforts me for some reason. I like to think that you communicate in some way with each other. Marty Green is directly behind you. He was always a thoughtful person and I know you enjoy talking to him. To Marty's left and over your right shoulder is your old roommate Firstie year and rugby teammate Alex Hottell. Alex and Marty were at opposite ends of the political spectrum as cadets and I can imagine the interminable political discussions between the two that you would have to referee. I also like to think that you and Alex could reach back to clasp each others right hand if the need arose. I know that these are silly ramblings of a friend and classmate who misses both of you, but it helps me to deal with the loss and emptiness I feel.

Bob, I feel as though I am becoming undone a bit so I think I had better take a break. I'll try to write more in the future. I just want you to know that the memory of our friendship as cadets is the best memory I have of my years at West Point. God be with you.

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