Lampasas Dispatch Record
written by: Debbie McCandless Smith (2006)
This was written by one of my best friends and sent to the Lampasas newspaper. I had no idea she was going to do this. What an honor for my husband.
I have known Eugene Greenberg Jr. as long as I can remember. Growing up in Lampasas in the 1950's and 1960's, you knew just about everybody in town. I knew when Eugene enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 19, and I remember that near the end of his second tour in Vietnam he was seriously wounded. Eugene lost his left leg and severely injure his left arm.
Even though the Army classified Eugene as 100% disabled, he never let his disability stop him from living a full, rewarding life. He married Carol in 1969 and they had two wonderful sons and 5 beautiful grandchildren. He worked for Round Rock ISD for 15 years. He was able participate in his favorite hobby, fishing, and coached both of his boys in their sports adventures. But most importantly, he led a Christian life by always setting the right example for people.
Eugene's graveside service was attended by five soldiers from his unit in Vietnam: His Captain, Lieutenant, and three fellow enlisted soldiers. Two of these men traveled from North Carolina, one from Connecticut, and one from South Carolina and one from Louisiana. One of these veterans told us that when Eugene was injured and his buddies loaded him on the helicopter, they did not think he would survive. In fact, they lived for 30 years thinking he was deceased.
About 13 years ago, one of these men began to look up people from the old unit on the Internet and discovered Eugene was alive. Eugene and Carol had the good fortune to attend a military reunion and he was reunited with many old friends.
During Eugene's graveside service, the wind picked up the flag on his casket. The staff sergeant from the Honor Guard began to walk to the casket to steady the flag. Before he could reach the casket; however, three of the Vietnam Veterans rushed to reposition the flag. For the remainder of the service, at least one of these men had his hands on the casket and the flag. Those of us in attendance were privileged to witness the words and actions of a true "band of brothers."
The Honor Guard from Fort Hood that conducted the military portion of Eugene's funeral fulfilled its duties with professionalism and dignity. Upon speaking with these young men after the service, I learned that they are all in the 1st Calvary Division and will deploy to Iraq later this year. Thus, the cycle to protect our freedom continues.
May we remember Eugene's family and these young soldiers in our thoughts and prayers in the days and months to come.
Debbie McCandless Smith (May 30, 2006)