WFLA helps Lakeland veteran receive military funeral honors - WRBL

WFLA helps Lakeland veteran receive military funeral honors

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Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family
Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family
Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family Photo Courtesy of Dickie James family
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Todd James is proud of his Navy veteran mother.

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, she answered the call of duty like many people of her generation.

"Mom was a good gal," said James.

Dickie James joined the U.S. Navy because her brother was in the Navy.

"He was on the Arizona and a few days before and a few days before it was bombed, he got his transfer papers and transferred to another place," said James.

Her service didn't take her to the front lines, but in World War II, she did serve a vital function.

"She was a parachute rigger," said James.

Her service also inspired her three sons to join the U.S. Navy.

When his mother passed away in May, he wanted to honor that part of her life with the presentation of a U.S. Flag at a family service.

Hundred of service people who served their country in World War II are dying each day. Estimates range between 600 to over a thousand deaths each day.

Public law requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps.

Todd James was having trouble finding someone to make a flag presentation at his mother's services.

"I must have called 10 or 12 places and it got to where I just didn't know where to turn," said James.

He contacted Veterans Affairs, and was told to fill out paperwork, but was also informed the process could take weeks.

James turned instead to Eight on Your Side.

We contacted Mark Rosenthal, who is the President of the Navy League in Tampa.

"We're here to help and assist in any way we can. We're a non profit organization who's out there to really benefit our community and more importantly to never forget how important it is to have our military behind us," said Rosenthal.

As the President of the Navy League in Tampa, Rosenthal decided to use the funeral service as an educational opportunity for several Navy cadets based in Lakeland and he brought them to the service.

"I contacted our Sea Cadets were locally here in Lakeland and we got a group together and we put together a little presentation on how we perform the flag ceremony and I think it really meant a lot to the family," said Rosenthal.

The service was held at the Salvation Army chapel in Lakeland.

Dickie James and her husband Charles volunteered for the Salvation Army for more than 15 years.

The flag presentation went off flawlessly and Todd James could not have been happier.

"She would have been really proud of it," said James.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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