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View a eulogy for Dee Wayne Stone, USMA '64, who passed away on November 11, 1966.

Dee Wayne Stone

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by John Inwright on February 18, 2017:

November 11th, 2016

Fifty years ago today, a grievous human tragedy struck our family during a very challenging time for our country. Our uncle, brother, cousin and friend to all was killed in action serving his country while protecting our soldiers on the ground and in air. He was my Godfather.

There are a variety of reports available about the actions of that fateful day in Pleiku, Vietnam, and in every account, Uncle Bud and the rest of his comrades in the gunship crews were noted for their heroism and the ultimate sacrifice they made with Duty, Honor, and Courage. We have all been moved by this tremendous loss to our family and we all assembled together here at the USMA Cemetery fifty years later to the day to honor his memory and celebrate his short time with us. Even today, we are still learning more about the firefight that occurred from unexpected connections and sources of info now available at our fingertips from a simple keyboard and computer screen. We all now appreciate ever more greatly what Uncle Bud meant to every life he touched. Uncle Bud chose a military profession in order to serve the country, and its people whom he so loved. To this day, I still struggle with emotions I cannot fully express. Our gathering was not intended to resurrect old wounds any of us may have felt, although it may have. Instead, we came together honor him as a man possessing a great moral code - a code rooted in conduct and chivalry by those who guard and protect our homeland. Uncle Bud gave his life on the very day our country celebrates the honor of our American Soldiers. His death so many years ago still arouses sadness, but also a great sense of pride and humility which is always with me.

Uncle Bud lives with us in eternity. We can find his name on a wall in nation's capitol; we can find his name engraved at a fire station in Brielle, NJ; we can find his name on a grave stone at the greatest military academy in the world; we can find his name on a brick paver at the New Jersey Vietnam Memorial at the Garden States Arts Center; and at one time, the world could also find his name engraved on a wall at Camp Holloway in Pleiku, Vietnam. As far as we know, that wall no longer exists, but the pictures do. We are blessed to have his letters to Grandma and Grandpa, to Aunt Grace, and our mother Mary, to Aunt Theo, and others. We are humbled by the letters our grandparents received from others at the time of his death. Uncle Bud touched so many, and today we are reaching back to touch his legacy among us as his family, among his friends whether still with us or departed, and as member of The Long Gray Line. And who are those men and women from The Long Gray Line?

The following words are an adaptation from General MacArthur's farewell address at West Point talking to our men, and today women, in uniform. A uniform which Uncle Bud proudly and humbly served:

These soldiers are our citizens built with basic character. They are molded for us in their future roles as custodians of our nation's defense. They are strong when we are weak, and they are brave enough to face fear, even when they are afraid.

They are taught to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; they will never substitute words for action; they do not to seek the path of comfort, they willingly face the stress of difficulty and challenge; they stand tall in the storm, but they have compassion for those who fall. They guide themselves before they seek to guide others. They have a heart that is clean, and goals that are high. They love to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; they look to the future, yet never neglect the past. They are serious, yet never take themselves too seriously; and they will always be modest so that they remember: the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

They create in our heart a sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life.

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man or woman at arms. It is the birthright of every American citizen to serve, but only a few do.

In Uncle Bud's youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other person. He has written his own legacy for all of us, and it was written in red.

When I think of his patience under adversity, his courage under fire, and his modesty in victory, I remain filled with an emotion of admiration I still cannot put into words. Uncle Bud belongs to history as one of the greatest examples of unwavering patriotism, in spite of being brought to war by the misguided politicians of his time. He belongs to us in the past, present, and future by his virtues, and by his achievements.

During many flights, over many battlefields, with an enduring fortitude, and an invincible determination, Uncle Bud was always, and still is remembered in our hearts.

And so now here we are, fifty years later, on the other side of the globe, sometimes still in the bitterness of that long separation from those who loved and cherished him, we celebrate his life, his love, and his person.

Thank you Uncle Bud. May the grace, blessings, and peace of Christ be with you, and us, in eternity.

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