Monday, May 25, 2009

DeKalb remembers the men and women who've given their lives in service to their country.

Every Memorial Day a service is performed at the DeKalb Veterans Memorial in Brook Run Park to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was a very touching ceremony and I wish I brought my sons to witness the occasion. If you would like to support the DeKalb Veterans or honor a specific DeKalb Veteran, please think about Buying a Brick at the Memorial.

The guest speaker of this years ceremony was Reverend Dr. Robert Certain who was born in Savannah, Georgia in December 1947. An alumnus of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, he attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1969 with a BA degree in History and a commission in the US Air Force. As a combat aviator he flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia in 1971 and 1972. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, five Air Medals, the Prisoner of War Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Following the Vietnam War, he attended the School of Theology, an Episcopal Church seminary in Sewanee, Tennessee, was ordained as a priest in 1976 after he received his Master of Divinity degree. In 1990, he was awarded his Doctor of Ministry degree from the School of Theology. In his capacity as a military chaplain, he served as a chaplain in the Air Force on active duty and in the reserves. As a reservist he served as chaplain to the Air Force in various locations, including basic military training, at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command and Air Mobility Command, and at the Air Force Academy. He also is a graduate of the Air War College. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1999 at the rank of Colonel.

Robert published his autobiography, Unchained Eagle: From Prisoner of War to Prisoner of Christ in 2003, and is the founder and president of the Unchained Eagle Memorial and Benevolent Society, Inc. The Memorial Society helped to build a POW/MIA Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery.

When former President Gerald R. Ford died in late 2006, Father Certain was chosen to lead all the memorial services and to preside at his burial in Michigan.

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