Final Tribute Congressman Young Made Honorary Marine

US Marines carry the casket of Congressman Bill Young into his memorial service.

US Marines carry the casket of Congressman Bill Young into his memorial service.

He served more than half-century in public office including 43 years in Congress and chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee. So, it’s difficult to measure the scope of Congressman Bill Young contributions to the Bay Area, Florida and the nation.

Young was laid to rest Thursday at Bay Pines National Cemetery – a place he visited often especially for the Veterans’ Day ceremony.

A salute as Congressman Young's casket passes.

A salute as Congressman Young’s casket passes.

On the stage at his funeral service at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, a smiling portrait of Bill Young looked out on the audience of more than 1,000 people. One could almost detect a twinkle in his eye as he was remembered for creating the national bone marrow registry and for his unwavering support for biomedical research.

Yet what was mentioned the most was his dedication and personal support of members of the military – especially the wounded and their families.

“It’s a strange thing to owe your life to somebody,” said Marine CPL Josh Callihan. Listed as a member of the Young family, Callihan credited the congressman and his wife Beverly for his recovery from a spinal injury.

Callihan was one of countless wounded troops visited by the Youngs at Walter Reed and other medical centers in the Tampa Bay region and around the world.

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies salute the arrival of Congressman Young's casket.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies salute the arrival of Congressman Young’s casket.

“I know that Bill would want me to say to the military that he loves so much, God Bless to all those who serve especially the wounded and their families and the fallen and all who stand the watch of the day,” said former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England.

He then read from a condolence letter sent by former President George W. Bush to Young’s widow that noted the congressman’s devotion to veterans and the military.

One need look no further than MacDill Air Force Base and the joint commands, US Central Command and US Special Operations Command, to measure his influence said State Rep. Ed Hooper of Clearwater.

“Bill Young with what he has done with MacDill Air Force Base to keep that open, putting the world center of national defense. He is clearly that person that we owe that gratitude to,” Hooper said.

There are countless veterans who can personally thank Young and his congressional staff for helping with paperwork snafus at the VA. Vietnam veteran Randall McNabb, a local leader of the Patriot Guard Riders, said Young helped him back in 1977 with a GI Bill snafu.

Dozens of Patriot Guard Riders escorted Congressman Young from the church service to Bay Pines National Cemetery.

Dozens of Patriot Guard Riders escorted Congressman Young from the church service to Bay Pines National Cemetery.

McNabb worries that Young’s replacement will not have the same enthusiastic support for veterans.

“They don’t have the same knowledge,” McNabb said. “They don’t understand a lot of the issues especially of those who have been to war.”

Young served nine years in the Army National Guard and six more years in the Reserves. Yet at his funeral, members of the US Marine Corps are the ones who carried his casket and formed the honor guard.

And Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos made Young an honorary US Marine delivering the news to his widow, Beverly Young, an hour before the funeral service.

“While he was physically absent during my remarks with Beverly and their family he was most assuredly there in spirit,” Amos told the audience. “To the men and women who wear my cloth, this is the absolute very highest honor that we could have bestowed upon this valiant warrior. While his heart was always with his Marines, he is now officially one of us.”

Dozens of motorcycle deputies and Patriot Riders await Congressman Bill Young's escort to Bay Pines National Cemetery.

Dozens of motorcycle deputies and Patriot Riders await Congressman Bill Young’s escort to Bay Pines National Cemetery.

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2 Responses

  1. What may one say has not been said? A thanks is the word that express all we may thinks, all he merit for what he has made. We will ever remember him on our hearts. claudio alpaca

  2. Thank you for your news letters, they are excellent.

    Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2013 23:56:17 +0000 To: janicezabel@hotmail.com

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