SPANISH FORT, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer who stood at attention during a rainstorm to honor a deceased World War II soldier said he simply wanted to recognize a veteran from a small town.
Wearing his regular uniform rather than rain gear, Officer Newman Brazier of the Mount Vernon Police Department got out of his police car and stood at attention as the funeral procession of Robert Lee Serling entered the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort on Monday, WPMI-TV reported. Serling died on June 5 at the age of 100.
Soaked, Brazier didn’t get out of the weather until the procession had passed. Eddie Irby Jr., who leads a group for Black veterans in Mobile, said mourners noticed the gesture, which was captured on video.
“It (had) an effect on those guys, especially those veterans, to see someone doing that.” said Irby Jr., president of the 92nd Division Buffalo Soldiers, a racially segregated fighting unit composed of Black soldiers.
Serling, a private first class who was one of the relatively few Black soldiers who fought in the Pacific during the war, was from Mount Vernon, a small town located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Mobile, and Brazier said he wanted the veteran’s death to be acknowledged.
“It was my point to let everyone in that area know that he was there, he was passing through, even if it was for the last time,” said Brazier.
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