On the chilly morning of Jan. 23, along with many other from Union County, I experienced a variety of feelings, including sadness and deep personal loss, as we came to honor and bury our very dear friend, General Oscar Decker. Yet, We soon felt immense pride when we grasped the significance of this momentous event filled with military pomp, ritual and dignity meant to honor the military men and women who have served and sacrificed to protect our great nation.
Tight security was at every turn was we filtered onto Fort Myer, Virginia, gathering at the Old Post Chapel. We were immediately awe struck as we saw the many soldiers with gleaming rifles with bayonets affixed following the horse-drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped casket, and a lone soldier carrying a general officer two-star flag.
Tears could not be held back when the riderless black horse appeared with boots reversed in the stirrups and with two stars sewn on its blanket. Those from Union County quickly realized this would be no ordinary funeral.
Once inside the chapel, Pastor Jack Heino from St. John’s Lutheran Church, and an active Army chaplain, led the memorial service. After the brief service, we followed the military procession and the Decker Family past a myriad of white markers, row upon row, which silently spoke of the tremendous bravery and terrible loss throughout our nation’s history.
Upon reaching the grave site, we viewed three cannons with crews on a knoll to our right, and seven riflemen on a knoll to our left … all were at the ready. We were suddenly and deeply moved by the cannons firing 13 volleys honoring a major general’s appearance on the field before them. After the brief eulogy, the riflemen fired a 21-gun salute, followed by a bugler playing the heart-rending sound of “Taps” and the folding and presentation of the flag to the family.
Attending service members from the Ohio National Guard and those of us who have served, as well as chief Jay Riley and his Marysville firemen, rendered a hand salute to honor our beloved Union County hero.
Surrounded by his large, loving family and in the presence of his many friends, including about 40 Lutheran church members from Union County, Major General (Ret.) Oscar C. Decker, Jr., (10/10/24-9/20/19), a dedicated soldier for 40 continuous years, was laid to rest with full military honors among his many past comrades, in section 81, grave 134, within Arlington National Cemetery.
Kenneth L. Bonnell,
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
Chairman, Union County Military Family Support Group
Member of the Union County Veterans Service Commission.