"When you go home
Tell them of us, and say,
For your tomorrow
We gave our today"
Database page for SP5 Walter G. Knight, AUS
This is a story of a soldier who gave his life for God and his country and for what he believed in on December 4, 1966, at 4:30 pm in Vietnam. His name is SP5 WALTER GRANT KNIGHT from Clarksburg, West Virginia.
SP5 Knight entered the Army shortly after getting out of high school in 1961. After finishing Boot Camp, SP5 Knight was sent to Italy where he served with the 68th Military Police Company for five years. During the five years that SP5 Knight was in Italy we conversed with each other by writing and several times we called. Our conversation mostly concerned World affairs and the attitude of the American People toward our policy in Vietnam.
While SP5 Knight was in Italy he earned the respect of the Italian Government and its people on the public relations and friendship he brought to them. In general he was an ambassador for the American Government. He helped the people realize what a great and glorious country America was and love for your fellow man. During the floods of 1963, SP5 Knight and the 68th were there to help. During his stay in Italy he played football, basketball, and baseball and won some awards. The men in his company praised him highly on the job he was doing as a soldier and an American.
In May of 1966 SP5 Knight returned to the United States and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington for training before going to Vietnam. I remember on one occasion I asked him about the attitude of the American boys that were burning draft cards and protesting, he said "You know it's a shame that these boys have forgotten what the word American really means." He stated that he may not agree with what is going on in Vietnam, but I am a professional soldier and it is my job to my country and to the American people to try and stop this thing before it gets to our backdoor.
Finally in October 1966 SP5 Knight got a ten day pass to go home and visit his family who had not seen him in five years. While he was home he called me to talk about him going to Vietnam. I asked him how he felt about going over. He stated he was going to Panama for jungle training and couldn't discuss exactly the type of training he was going for. He did mention that they were testing a new type of weapon that he himself didn't know too much about.
I asked him if he was afraid and he said "Every soldier is because he doesn't know if he will be coming back the way he went over." He mentioned again that if only the American people would quit their protesting and help the morale of the boys in Vietnam and instead of tearing it down it would help the war in all aspects. He mentioned that it was a shame that ours boys had to go over there and give their lives for something that they believed in and at the same time people back here at home were fighting among themselves and taking and forgetting the most important thing (AMERICA).
Not long after that I received a letter from him that he was enroute to Vietnam and should be landing there in a few days. That was the last time I heard from him. Then on December 5, 1966 at 1:30 pm, I received a phone call that I will never forget the rest of my life. It was our older brother saying that they had received word that SP5 WALTER GRANT KNIGHT had been killed in hostile action at 4:30 pm on December 4, 1966 while on patrol. So I got a few days off from work to go to West Virginia. I arrived in Clarksburg on December 8, 1966 and his body had not returned yet.
On December 9, 1966 Walters body returned to Clarksburg and I went to the train station to meet the body with the family. At 3:15 pm the train arrived . And as I looked around down the loading platform came a cart with a long gray box on it and with a piece of paper and the name SP5 WALTER GRANT KNIGHT, CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA written on it. The only words I could find to say were, WELCOME HOME SOLIDER. I helped the undertaker and SP5 Knight's younger brother load the long gray box into the hearse to be taken to the funeral home.
From December 9, 1966 to December 12, 1966 at which time SP5 Knight was laid to final rest are four days which I, nor anyone else who knew him, will ever forget. With everyone that knew or associated with him, he left a feeling of warmth and love. He had a good word for everyone, no matter if they were rich or poor; they loved him. Boys he grew up with cried when they viewed his body. They told me it was like losing a brother. People he delivered papers to when he was a boy growing up said it was like losing a son.
Of the four darkened days of the KNIGHT FAMILY was December 12,1966 at 1:30 pm when final respects were paid to a true American boy. It all began when the family door was closed and when they reopened all that was seen was the flag draped casket of an AMERICAN SOLDIER who had given his life for his country. After the service his body was taken on its final ride through the town he loved so much. I rode with the rest of the family directly behind the hearse. Through the back window you could see the flag-draped casket.
In your mind as you ride with SP5 Knight on his final journey you think of the many memories of the years past you had with him. In your heart you miss him already but your mind goes back to the funeral home and the viewing of the body and the peaceful look on his face as if he were saying, "Well, my job is done here on earth and I've done it well so I must go home now. It was a look I had seen so many time before when he did a job well done. You notice as you go down the main street of town that the many bystanders are at a stand still as the body passes by as if they were saying "GOODBYE SOLDIER WE'RE ALL PROUD OF YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE."
Shortly, we arrived at the grave site and the procession comes to a halt. Then six sharply dressed HONOR GUARDSMAN roll the flag-draped casket out to take it to its final resting place. You notice in the background seven other HONOR GUARDSMAN with their rifles raised at a salute position in HONOR of their comrade who gave his life for his country.
The flag-draped casket is placed on a platform to lower it to its final resting place. In the distance you hear three volleys of shots fired and than the flag is folded and presented to his mother and father in memory of their son who gave his all for his country and for what he believed in. As the flag is presented to his mother and father by Sergeant Chower of Dover, Delware, these words were spoken:
"THIS IS ONLY A SMALL MOMENTO OF THE FINE AND GLORIOUS JOB YOUR SON DID FOR HIS COUNTRY AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY. YOU HAVE OUR SYMPATHY."Then from the west came the sound of taps which to a soldier means his job and day is through and he can rest. WALTER GRANT KNIGHT heard taps sounded for the final time that would put him into everlasting and eternal rest, because his job was completed, he could rest now knowing it was done right.
As one woman who he sold papers to wrote:
"Though the snow fell fast and the winds blew cold his morning paper was always delivered. His cheerful way and his winning smile always made life more worthwhile. And though here on earth we'll not meet again he will always live on in the heart of a friend.This was written by a woman who knew him from the time he was 12 years old and until his death at the age of 23.
To me he died a hero and always will be in my heart and thoughts. Because when SP5 WALTER GRANT KNIGHT got killed a part of me died with him. Because I knew him as no other man did. Why do I say this? WELL IT HURTS TO GO BACK HOME AFTER SIX YEARS AND SEEING YOUR TWIN BROTHER THIS WAY. After not seeing him since we were seventeen as I went into the Marine Corps from 1960 to 1965. Believe me, it's a hurt that you never can get over.
I wrote this story about my HERO in 1967 -
Everyone has a hero
REST IN PEACE |
YOU DIED BEFORE I WAS BORN
Copyright Jeff Vadzemnieks
Say Brother Hey Brother
Say Brother Hey Brother
They've taken you away
But say Brother Hey Brother
We'll all meet again someday.
You went across the sea and gave your life for me
You went across the sea and gave your life in vain
Say Brother Hey Brother
The way you died was a dirty shame
You were brave in what you done for the battle you have won
So Say Brother Hey Brother
Written by Wilbur Brent Knight
Walter Grant Knight
I didn't get to know you, but I see your pictures every day in our home. You have a nice smile on your face. I know you are smiling in Heaven with God.
I do know this, there are times I feel you are close to your twin brother. I see his face and know it. You will always be in our hearts and minds because your spirit never died. We will always feel your presence in our home and the love we have for you shall never die.
Love from a Sister-in-law you didn't get to know -
A memorial from Wil Knight
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