My father was Robert G. Mugford, a proud member of the General MacArthur Honor Guard. He passed away on 06/06/2011. A health scare years earlier re-ignited his desire to assist his community. He became active in his home town’s American Legion Post, serving as its Commander for a number of years. I heard talk that they were considering naming the Post building in his honor after his death. He was assisted by my mother, Jean Mugford, who was very active with the American Legion Auxiliary in Sudbury, MA.
My parents fought the worthy battles at home. They enjoyed educating the youth about our country’s history and the men and women who served, often speaking in a classroom or at the sidelines of a Fourth of July celebration. My father fought his church when they chose to change long standing history and remove the American flag from their church sanctuary and the church building. He won a partial victory. The flag remains today in a hallway somewhere underneath the bell tower. He began a rewarding project, to see that the American flag and “service to country” was recognized at the funerals of every veteran and returning soldier in their greater community. My father often did a reading at these services that included the World War 1 story of the poppies over Flanders Fields. My parents found themselves at several grave sites in the company of only a single mourner, the deceased apparently having outlived all other family members and friends. The mourner/s were always grateful for the company of my parents and the other vets who accompanied them.
My father was once honored in his later years by our home town, as “Grand Marshall” for the Memorial Day parade. He proudly wore a General MacArthur Honor Guard uniform in a convertible through the parade. He marched with a flag in the parade each year, until his health prohibited his continued support. He could not be told “no”, when we saw his health in decline. In his last march, he was forced to step off of the parade route, ending up in the hospital the next day with increased heart issues as a result of marching beyond his limits. You can’t keep a good man down. His doctor said, “Thank you for your service”, with a wonderful smile.
My dad was extremely proud to have served in Japan with you men of General MacArthur’s Honor Guard. He served on the Honor Guard with his twin brother, Russell M. Mugford, whose date of passing was 06/13/1988. Heart issues for both gentlemen.
My parents enjoyed the opportunity to travel to a number of the Honor Guard reunions. They traveled to Virginia, Texas, Missouri, and Japan. They found an old picture of my dad next to the Dai Ichi building while in the Honor Guard. They returned to that same spot in modern days and took another picture, with my father standing in the exact same spot these many years later. They were blown out of the Louisiana reunion by historic Hurricane Katrina. It was a wise call to cancel the reunion at the last minute as history approached the Gulf States. We have photos from each reunion that I will attempt to locate and share. My parents loved the friends that they met at the General MacArthur Honor Guard reunions.
My parents prepared and presented a possible Honor Guard reunion plan to visit the historic Boston, Lexington and Concord, MA areas once. They were supported by the state’s politicians and travel bureau, to make it a memorable visit for all. But the cost of the Northeast prohibited that opportunity for our aging veterans. Understandable.
We loved growing up in the historic American Revolutionary War area of the country. Men from our home town joined the battles of Lexington and Concord, which is celebrated each year in colonial dress and parade with a foot march from our town to the battle fields. We have cemetery plots in the historic area of our home town. An American flag flies there, next to my dad’s marble monument each day.
My mother, Jean Mugford, is still living happily in the family home at 11 Eddy Street, Sudbury, MA 01776. She is quite conversational, but, her fight with Alzheimers has left her unable to recognize slightly distant relatives and most close friends. We explain to her who these people are as we hear from them or see them, and that works fine with her positive attitude. She recalls the Honor Guard reunions fondly. She attends adult day care several days each week. My older sister is living with my mom and is taking care of her as needed. My mom is still walking around the block, with assistance, on nice days. Most days find her seated on her couch knitting one of hundreds of hats that she has knitted for less fortunate children of Maine, a project begun through her church.
I am excited to find the story of the General’s Honor Guard on-line. It has sparked a dream, to begin the research that will lead me to visiting the General’s monuments and museums with my lovely wife. Keep up the good work.
I am now on a mission to locate the old photos to share. I hope that the General MacArthur Honor Guard website will continue on, perhaps attached to a museum for posterity.
God bless you all.