ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) Roger Damon's story is about duty, honor, loss and love found again. A retired colonel with a tale worth sharing.
At the Saint Johnsbury Veterans Day parade, Damon is there every year without fail. "Since Memorial Day of 1955 -- you do the math!" he said.
Over 64 years of honoring his country. The 90-year-old wears his uniform with pride. It's a combination of his and his fathers, Roger Sr.
"The hat device was on my dad's hat," Damon said. "I've warn this insignia all of my military life... The US's belong to my dad. My dad didn't come home from World War Two."
Damon's mother died when he was just two, so It was up to his grandmother to tell the 16 year-old the terrible news. "We had a nice supper -- very strong woman -- she said, 'I have some sad things to tell you. Roger's not coming home,'" Damon recalled.
Damon's dad survived both the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, but he tragically slipped on wet stairs, hit his head and died instantly.
The younger Damon's military career started at Norwich University. At first he struggled, but with determination he flourished. More good news -- he then met his future wife, Doris.
Reporter Joe Carroll: And you fell for her.
Roger Damon: Bam!
They married soon after. Damon moved up the ranks in the Army Reserve and the couple raised three girls. They were together for 65 years until she died -- a loss heavy on his heart.
"I had a great deal of admiration for his love and devotion and caring," said Pam Dearborn, who observed how Damon took care of Doris in church. She even helped Damon at the services.
"And I'm looking at this lady and say, 'this woman is so full of love she doesn't know what to do with it,'" Damon said.
After Doris died they became closer. Now he calls Pam his "S.O." -- Special Other. It was about that time Roger got a phone call out of the blue. "'And I have something I know you would want to have.' I figured, what's this going to cost me," he said.
The man was legit. A TV anchor who had sent a crew to Europe for a war anniversary special and the cameraman found something special. "'Your father dropped his helmet on Utah Beach on D-plus 1, I have it,'" Damon recalled.
Just under the strap are the faded letters "RH Damon." Poignant memories for a father Damon still misses and respects. "I don't feel that my life is anywhere over yet. There's so much more to do," he said.
A salute to two veterans.