Posted at: 11/12/2012 6:56 PM
Updated at: 11/13/2012 7:29 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News
New Mexico’s oldest Death March of Bataan survivor and World War II veteran Virgil Wallace has been laid to rest at the age of 99.
“Goodbye for now, good friend, but that we should be together when I can salute you in person, with our glorified bodies,” Pastor Jim Reinbolt said at his memorial service.
Family, friends, fellow veterans and the Patriot Guard gathered together to celebrate his life and legacy. They shared stories about his laughter, his cough, and the fact that he’d run a mile every day up until his 98th year. Family called him “Uncle Bud,” and loved his enthusiastic spirit.
“He was a tough man that loved his country,” his grand-nephew Robert Dean said. “He was a true patriot… he just had a great out look on life, loved everyone around him. He didn’t want parades or anything for what he had done, but he was just a good man, a sweet soul and loved his family.”
Just last year at 98 years old, Wallace was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his service and sacrifice.
Attendees honored both Wallace and others who had gone through the march.
“Hot, hungry, thirsty, sick, badly mistreated, they revered freedom yet they sacrificed their own so that others may be free,” Reinbolt said.