Valley Veteran's Life of Service

October 30, 2008 9:06:43 PM PDT
It was a scene being played out all over the Central Valley. In fact the entire nation. Saying good-bye to a veteran who was a member of the 'Greatest Generation' comes all too often these days. This time it was in a small funeral in Clovis. Action News had met and worked on several stories about veteran's issues with Jim Windsor. It is becoming harder to know which of these community leaders across the Valley will be there when you call. It is harder with each passing day.

On this day the contemporaries of Jim Windsor came with heavy hearts and fond memories to remember and honor a standup guy who chose to serve his country along with more than 17 million other young men during World War Two. Pastor Nuel Brown told it this way, "He served the armed forces in two different wars and he was wounded in Korea."

After leaving the Army Windsor's service was focused in his community and several Veteran organizations including the Order of the Purple Heart. He got things done said Major General Ron Markarian, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve. He described one of Jim's projects, "He was instrumental in the very beautiful purple heart memorial monument that appears in our courthouse park." That memorial was dedicated in August of 2006 thanks in part to Windsor's efforts.

At this memorial service he was given full military honors including a 21 gun salute and the playing of taps. Those honors are being offered more and more often ...

The nation's Department of Veteran's Affairs estimates that World War Two Vets like Jim Windsor are dying at a rate of 18-hundred a week. By Veterans Day of this year, 2008, the 15 and a half million who fought and survived WWII will have dwindled to just 2 and half million. They are the generation who fought more than 6 decades ago and faced worldwide adversity head on. Gil de la Pena, of the Order of the Purple Heart, was among them, "And everybody in the nation knew that we had to put our arms together and shoulder the burdens together and just lift the nation back up. And that's what happened."

They came home to serve their communities, an example they say that could be useful in these troubled times. Rudy Giannoni says the tough times we face today will be this generation's challenge, "We came up and built ourselves up now these kids are at the top and if we have a depression they're gonna go down to where we were, can they do it?"

It was a Vietnam Veteran blowing Amazing Grace from a flugelhorn that set the tone as the mourners filed past Jim Windsor's casket. Each stopped, fashioned a last crisp but slow salute to a comrade in arms whose time on earth was over.

The family and friends of combat veteran Jim Windsor say he followed his generation's creed and left a powerful legacy worth emulating.

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