Niles resident buried at Arlington National CemeteryPublished 5:30pm Thursday, December 13, 2012
Longtime Niles resident and business owner Glen Clemens was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors in October.
Clemens’ youngest son, Mark, was there with brothers, Steve and Owen, and a family friend, Susan.
It was an experience Mark says he will never forget.
“It was funny because there were only four of us, but there were probably 130 people putting this on,” he said. “They make you feel like those years your father — or whomever — served were appreciated. They truly cared. You felt like it was a brotherhood and they were taking care of a brother. It was truly amazing.”
Glen served 19 years in the U.S. Army, including in World War II and the Korean Conflict, and retired as a major.
He is the founder of Lumber Service Ltd. in Cassopolis, which is now operated by his sons, Mark and Steve.
Glen died June 14 at the age of 84, but had to wait to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“You don’t know exactly what the day will be,” Mark said. “Finally, months after he passed away, they said be here Oct. 26.”
For the processional, Glen’s remains were transported by horse and carriage in a casket covered with an American flag. A marching band led the way to the service, which included a 21-gun salute and flag-folding ceremony.
Mark was handed the flag.
“That was the part that blew you away the most,” Mark said. “They would say ‘on behalf of the president of the United States, we are presenting you this flag as an honor for his service to this country. He is buried here with 400,000 other patriots.’”
More than 7,000 people are buried in Arlington every year with around 25 funerals conducted each day.
Mark said everyone should pay a visit, at least once, to Arlington National Cemetery.
“It was a life-changing experience for me,” he said. “We left with a sense of pride and feeling of patriotism. You leave wanting to chant ‘USA, USA.’”