Under a summer sun in Dyer’s Oakwood Cemetery, the melody of “Taps” was heard, and an American flag was presented in honor of a soldier who died forty-five years earlier.
Army Master Sgt. Inman Ramsey, who served in World War II and the Korean War, was buried in July, 1972 without recognition of his 21-year military career.
Last Saturday, July 8, MSgt. Ramsey was given posthumous military honors during a memorial ceremony attended by family and friends.
About forty people gathered near the gravestone of Inman and wife, Christine, as a nine-member Honor Guard from the Scotts Hill American Legion Post 243 displayed a flag, fired three rifle volleys in salute, and played “Taps.”
First Lieut. Stephen Powell, Battalion Chaplain of the Trenton National Guard 230th Engineer unit, read Ramsey’s biography, noting his military records were lost in fire.
“We are here today to remember the service of MSgt. Inman Ramsey to his country, and provide the military honors that were due him at the time of his death on July 7, 1972, forty-five years ago yesterday,” said Powell.
An American flag was ceremonially folded thirteen times by three Honor Guard members, as narration was given by member, Ronnie Butler. The flag, folded into a navy blue cocked hat, triangle with white stars, was handed to Private First Class Kelley Ramsey of the Ohio Army National Guard. She is the granddaughter of the late Mr. Ramsey.
“It was very emotional; I didn’t realize how important this was until now, getting honored to receive the flag for the family,” said Ms. Ramsey, 32. “It was a real honor to be able to come from Ohio to be here today.”
PFC Ramsey never met her grandfather. She learned he was a field sergeant and master sergeant after she completed basic training. She said the folded flag would be displayed in a shadow box in the Dyer home of her uncle, Mike Ramsey.
A retired Gibson Co. High School history teacher, Mike Ramsey led the effort to arrange the memorial service.
“At the time of Dad’s death, none of us gave it a thought,” he said about a funeral with military honors. “I was in the Army stationed overseas in Germany; and my brother was in the Navy. We were scattered out.”
Now a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Mike saw an honor guard presentation earlier this year and learned that all active duty veterans are entitled to military funerals.
“They explained the law regarding who is entitled to this type of (funeral) service,” he said. “So many people, including us, were under the impression that you had to have so much rank, or be a special situation, which is not true. Anybody who served active duty in the military is authorized a military funeral, whether you were a general or a private. It dawned on me that Daddy deserved that after serving twenty-one years in the Army, including overseas, the Philippines and Korea.”
Ramsey made phone calls and was put in touch with the Scotts Hill American Legion.
“In the last few years, there’s been a growing interest by the VFW, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion posts to form honor guards to render proper honors at funerals, memorials and parades and such,” he said. “Local National Guard units don’t have the people available to do it. Part of their mission is to go back and give everybody the honor they deserve. They’ve even done some things for World War I veterans. Vietnam, Iraq – it doesn’t matter. You could have served in the National Guard and never went overseas. When you pass away, you’re still entitled honors.”
After the cemetery service, Ramsey relatives and friends met at church in Dyer for lunch.
“It makes me feel good, that we finished part of the story, so to speak, concerning my Dad,” Mike Ramsey reflected. “Something he deserved forty-five years ago didn’t happen, but it happened today. I told the group, we are doing this for two reasons: one is to honor the memory of my Dad; the second reason is to let his grandchildren and great-grandchildren know something about him.”
21-year military career
Inman Ramsey was born in the Edison Community in Gibson Co., Jan. 12, 1912. He enlisted in the Army in 1931 at the age of 19. He served at posts in Georgia, S. Carolina and Louisiana, and during the first years of WWII, trained troops for combat overseas. From Oct. 1945 through Nov. 1951, he served in the Far East Command, mainly the Philippines, Japan and Korea. He participated in the Occupation of Japan, and his first children, Mike and James were born in Japan. He was promoted to Master Sergeant in 1948. He was a heavy weapons infantry leader, first class machine gunner and expert with the M-2 carbine. He served in Korea in 1951 and was admitted to an Army hospital in Okinawa, returning to the U.S. in Dec., 1951. Medical issues forced his retirement in 1952 after nearly 21 years.
Ramsey’s awards and medals included: Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), EAMET (European, African, Middle Eastern) Campaign Medal, and PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations) with 1 Bronze SV Star.
Inman Ramsey’s gravestone is inscribed with words from a certificate that was sent to the family by Pres. Richard Nixon: “The United States of America honors the memory of Inman Ramsey. This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.” – Richard Nixon, President of the United States.”