The Legion Hall in Bruneau, Idaho, has always been a special place in my heart and memories. When I was a child we used have the best times there at community dances.
It is also the place where we held the Celebration of Life for Granddad, my dad’s father, Ed Craig on Memorial Day weekend several years ago.
This last weekend, Memorial Day weekend 2023, we held the Celebration of Life for Jim Craig, my father, in this same hall.
Dad was born and raised in this little ranching community that he loved so much. Dad was 96 years old when he left us. The majority of his family (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins) and old friends had already passed before him.
We knew my Uncle Bob, Dad’s brother, and Aunt Leona would make it, if at all possible. And he did, in spite of dealing with his own health issues, as well as most of his kids. Most of my and my sister’s kids also made it. We were pretty sure there would be a few Bruneau people there also, but we weren’t expecting the crowd that showed up. Dad touched so many lives. A lot of the children of his lifelong friends were there. This little community Legion Hall was full to overflowing with love and respect for our father. We love you all!
I had a few other cousins, who traveled many miles, that made it also. I learned afterwards that two of Dad’s cousins, Cleo and Leroy, were also there. I regret not being able to visit with them and tell them how much they meant to Dad. But I know they already knew that.
It’s hard to tell all the stories of a man’s 96 years on this earth. There is just no way. People told us stories of our Dad this day that we had never heard… and some that we had.
Dad served our country in World War II. He was stationed in Hawaii after the attack. He was given wonderful Military Honors by Bruneau American Legion, Post # 83. Fireman 2nd Class James Edward “Jim” Craig served on USS YMS 307 which was a minesweeping ship.
Military Gun Salute, and my sister Pat receiving Dad’s flag.
In closing, I would like to share a portion of the service program from the Bruneau Legion.
” We have all heard that ‘Old Soldiers never die; they just fade away.’ However, this fading away is never easy, regardless of age or circumstance. That saying, ‘Old Soldiers Never Die, they just fade away,’ comes from the General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur’s farewell speech to Congress in 1953. We include it in our Honor’s Ceremony simply because it just seems to be appropriate.
On a local note, Jim was one of the 93 men and women from Bruneau that served in WWII, and he was the last one to pass on. His passing is a milestone in Bruneau history because he was a member of the Greatest Generation who fought, and won, World War II, and then came home and made the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known. This is a sad day for two reasons. First, because of Jim’s passing and second, because this will be the last Military Honors, we the Bruneau American Legion, will perform for a member of the Greatest Generation. We are eternally grateful and forever thankful to all who earned that fitting distinction….THE GREATEST GENERATION! Jim was one of them”
R.I.P. JIM CRAIG