Robert Coles served his country proudly decades ago.
He was in Pearl Harbor on this day 75 years ago when the Japanese committed their sneak attack.
Coles planned to travel back to Hawai’i from Maine to commemorate the anniversary of the date which “will live in infamy.”
He was given a hero’s send-off.
From 11 Alive:
TRENTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — When Robert Coles and his traveling companion Dennis Boyd set out from Mr. Coles’ home in Machias Saturday morning, they knew that they were going to have some company along the way but were not prepared for the tremendous outpouring of support that unfolded before their eyes.
Robert Coles came out of his house in full dress uniform and gave a military salute to gathered crowd of men and women in uniform.
“Thank you, sir,” said one state police offer as he shook Coles’ hand.
Mr. Coles was greeted by more than a dozen state police officers, firefighters and Washington County sheriff’s deputies, all there to shake the hand of a man who stood on the deck of a Navy destroyer and helped defend this country when the Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor. He paused for photos before getting into a state police cruiser escort.
Both Coles and his traveling companion Dennis Boyd, also a Navy veteran, were taken to Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport.
A caravan of vehicles with flashing blue, red and yellow lights made its way down windy Route 1 through the blueberry barrens of Washington County and eventually along Maine’s rocky Downeast coastline.
All along the way, people came out to show their support and even more people joined the caravan.
“I knew that there would be a small caravan and some greetings, but the people the community — especially the state police community — I had no idea how much they were going to rally around all of this,” Boyd said. “I think it’s fantastic.”
When Coles arrived at the airport, he was greeted with “God Bless You”‘s by dozens of onlookers.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Coles.
We are the nation we are today because of men like you.