Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - 65 years ago, to the day, U.S. Army Private Isaac Wilmer Jumper began training at Camp Fannin, right here in East Texas.
On Memorial Day, a very special dedication was made in his honor.
"This is the culmination of a dream," said Carol Mercer.
She says she was only four-years-old when her father, Private Isaac Jumper left to fight in World War II.
"My biggest guilt was that my dad was forgotten...and with this wonderful bench out here, his name will be out there and he will never be forgotten again," said Mercer.
65 years ago he set foot in Camp Fannin, 65 years later some say his soldier spirit lives on.
"In a way, it represents every trainee that left here that didn't return," said John Anderson, president of the Camp Fannin Association.
Private Jumper was shipped to Europe in 1944 assigned to the "Big Red One", 1st Infantry Division. He was killed in action in 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.
"Those are the guys that laid the groundwork for us today," said Major Gregory Stokes. "This nation would not be as great as it is without the sacrifices of those that have fallen before us."
Stokes is a member of the Big Red One. He says he was honored to be present at the dedication, especially this one.
"To have another soldier from the same division come here and help pay tribute to him...that magnifies what it's all about," he said. "We're brothers in arms. Shakespeare once said that those that shed their blood with me today shall always be my brother."
"We're honored as an association that we're able to do this today," said Anderson.
"He will not be forgotten again," said Mercer.
The Camp Fannin Memorial pays tribute to all five branches of the military and the Merchant Marines.
Private Jumper was 22 when he was killed in action, seven days before the Battle of the Bulge ended.