GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – On the 77th anniversary of D-Day, a Greene County D-Day Veteran who was recently laid to rest was honored through a memorial service.
After passing away in 2020, a large memorial service for Samuel Arthur Ricker Sr. was pushed back due to COVID-19, but friends of Ricker said Sunday was the perfect day to do it.
“A day that was so momentous in his life, to do it on June 6, speaks incredibly to his life,” Todd Smith, a friend of Ricker’s, said. “I think it is just meaningful to everyone here that we do this on this day.”
Ricker fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was 99 years old when he passed in October 2020. Ricker served Greene County by working with local schools and sharing his story with the community.
“I just thought to myself, that’s incredible. The story I read in my history books for so long, I’m talking to the man who witnessed it and was there,” Smith said. “Those are the stories that we’re going to lose forever with the passing of Mr. Ricker.”
“Any time you lose someone with such institutional knowledge about World War II, there is a loss because our greatest generation of Americans are passing away on a weekly basis,” Rep. David Hawk said. “The fact that we don’t have a first-hand story to hear about World War II is a shame.”
Todd Smith said he doesn’t know of any other D-day veterans left in Greene County.
“We’ll no longer hear those stories of D-Day, and of liberating concentration camps and those incredible things that he experienced,” Smith said. “Those stories will be gone forever, but we take those memories and that gratitude with us forever.”