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Sacrifices recalled in ceremony

May 25, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Edna Brumbaugh and Gertrude Kime walked solemnly as they carried wreaths to the marker honoring area war dead at War Memorial Park Monday morning.

Brumbaugh's son, John Brumbaugh Jr., died in 1969 in Vietnam. Kime's son, Joseph Kime III, died in Kuwait City at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

To them, Memorial Day is more than an excuse for family reunions, picnics and softball games. It is a day to remember their sons' sacrifices.

About 150 people gathered at War Memorial Park Monday morning to pay tribute to those killed in combat. The event was sponsored by American Legion Post 14 in Martinsburg, W.Va.


Joseph Kime II, of Charles Town, W.Va., said his son loved being in the U.S. Army. He was executive officer of a tank battalion.

He grew up listening to his father's stories about his service in the U.S. Marines during the Korean War.

Gertrude Kime said she worried when he was sent over to the Persian Gulf and was glued to the television watching the war unfold.

"When President Bush said the war was over, my heart dropped," she said.

The war ended on Feb. 27, 1991. Joseph Kime II said his son and his son's commander flipped a coin to see who would lead a convoy back to Kuwait City on a supply run.

Joseph Kime III, 38, lost the coin toss and went back. His Humvee hit a land mine on March 11 and he died on March 13, leaving behind a wife and two children.

John Brumbaugh served in World War II from Casablanca in 1943 to the fall of Germany in 1945.

His son, the oldest of seven children, joined the U.S. Marines after graduating from St. Joseph Catholic School in Martinsburg. He was 19 when he arrived at Da Nang in South Vietnam in 1969. Three days after arriving in the war zone, he was killed in a mortar attack.

"I'd rather have lost him at birth than to have him for 19 years," John Brumbaugh said. "At 19, you're just getting to know him as a person and then he's taken away from you."

Edna Brumbaugh said her two other sons also joined the military, one serving in the Air Force and the other in the Navy. She also has five grandchildren in the military.

"I hope there are no more wars," Edna Brumbaugh said.

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