Honoring a fallen hero
by Lawrence Keeney
A group of veterans, elected officials and family members gathered on a rainy day at the end of the Ramage Bridge to honor the life of a fallen Boone County veteran.
The Ramage, Rt. 17 Bridge was renamed last week in honor of a Boone County man who lost his life a short time after the D-Day Invasions of 1944.
Known as Operation Overlord, the invasion landed Allied Troops staged in the United Kingdom on June 6, hundreds at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches.
These initial landings were preceded the previous night by the landing of American, British, Canadian and Free French paratroopers. The troops met fierce resistance initially, but within days the sheer number of more than 130,000 allied forces simply overwhelmed the Axis troops defending France.
PFC Sebert. S. Duty, from the Ramage area, was drafted into the United States Army shortly after his 31st birthday. The young soldier was remembered by his family as a deeply religious man who worked tirelessly as a coal miner to help feed his family.
Seberts younger brother Fred Duty, was also drafted into the United States Army during World War II, but their paths did not cross during the Invasion of Europe. The younger brother did not learn of his brothers death in battle until sometime later.
Now, 65 years later, Fred Duty, himself a decorated veteran, learned that his request to have the bridge named in honor of his beloved brother was granted by the West Virginia Legislature.
Last Saturday, a rifle squad from VFW Post 5578 was on hand to fire a rifle salute to the fallen soldier. After speeches, prayers, and the advance of colors, Duty was presented with a copy of the sign that hangs at the end of the bridge adjacent to Ramage Elementary, honoring Sebert Duty.
Also on hand to honor Duty were numerous members of the Duty family, from children to grandchildren.
My brother was good man who fought for his country because he knew it was the right and honorable thing to do, Fred Duty told the audience. I am proud of him.
Duty offered his thanks to those who helped make the ceremony possible. This included Senator Ron Stollings, Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, delegates Barker, Eldridge, Rodighiero, Butcher and Stowers, and the Daniel Boone Post 5578 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In addition, he honored Dr. Frank Frye, Terry Spencer and the ladies auxillary of VFW Post 5578.
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