A lone Marine will lift to his mouth a bugle of noble metal, causing to ripple through the air of New York’s lower Hudson Valley the haunting tones of Taps. On Saturday with full military honors, in Frederick W. Loescher Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Robert Hewett will be laid to rest.
On June 12, a utility worker found his skeletal remains behind the 7-Eleven Shopping Center in Montebello. Hewett, 57 years old, had lived in a nearby woods for 15 years. Homeless.
It was his honorable service in Vietnam that inked the title veteran onto his resume. When he returned from the battlefields, something had gone awry; he faded into obscurity and had taken to the thickets.
There is no record of his having contact with the Rockland Veterans Office. Jerry Donnellsen, agency director, said he had filed no papers nor had he asked for assistance.
But there will be an honor guard at his funeral, and he will be buried with respect and with decoration. For his “brothers” have learned of his military service, and of his death, and are planning his rites. Coordinated by the Marine Corps League’s Rockland County Detachment, a group of 340 Marine veterans living in Rockland and northern New Jersey have taken responsibility for the funeral of Robert Hewett.
“One of our strong convictions of the Marine Corps is that ‘no man left behind,’ and we take care of our own,” said Marino, league commander, yesterday. “We’re bringing him home. We’re upholding our creed.”
Rockland County and the League of Marines are joining together to pay for all funeral and burial costs of Robert Hewett.
On Saturday, drifting over New York’s lower Hudson Valley will be the distinctive tone of taps. A valiant group of United States Marines have pledged to see that no man is left behind, and that their brother is taken home. An honor guard will stand.
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