East Texans honor veterans at Lufkin cemetery - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texans honor veterans at Lufkin cemetery

Mildred Engleke places honors her brother with an American flag. Mildred Engleke places honors her brother with an American flag.
Vietnam veteran Luther Bolenbarker is a member of the VFW in Lufkin. Vietnam veteran Luther Bolenbarker is a member of the VFW in Lufkin.

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – In observance of Memorial Day, countless East Texas military families go to the place their loved ones are laid to rest.

It's a solemn walk through the cemetery where Mildred Engleke's brother is laid to rest. She said it's a sacred day.

"We don't know what they went through in order to save us here," she said.

Sgt. Billie Capps survived Vietnam, but not the toll the experience took on his health. He died in 2006.

"He has so many honors and stuff of that sort, but it didn't cure him,"said Engleke. "He wasn't well in the mind after that. He just wandered. He would go off by himself and just wander around and that's why it's so important today to honor those people because we don't know what they went through."

A sea of red, white and blue line parts of the cemetery's street. In the midst of Englke's sorrow she finds solice in placing the American flag on her brother's headstone.

"They give their lives for service and for things in service and the memorial is a tribute to them," said Engleke.

Vietnam veteran Luther Bolenbarker is Engleke's pastor. He said it's important for families like Engleke's to dedicate this day in remembrance.

"We remember those who have passed on, those who gave their lives in service and even we are thankful for those who still serve," he said.

Bolenbarker is a member of the VFW in Lufkin. Because of December's storm damage, he and others observed the holiday at the Garden of Memories in Lufkin.

"We lost some of our memorabilia, but the majority of was saved and we're going to rebuild our memorial wall that we have to veterans and things are going to be better than what they were before," said Bolenbarker.

Engleke is thankful for the comfort and compassion Vietnam vets like Bolenbarker give.

"It should be celebrated with the people who are still alive that have made it in this world. especially the veterans that have made it and the ones who haven't...just pray for them."

Hundreds of East Texas military families paid their respects to the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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