HONORING VETERANS DAY: "This is My Father's Flag"
Story written and told by Bob Protexter of Sioux City, Iowa and produced by Siouxland Public Media orginally for Memorial Day 2019.
This is my father's flag; of Donald Homer Protexter.
This is my father's flag in memoriam . . . of his dedicated and diligent service to the United States of America.
I have to write this because I knew he never would.
This is my father's flag that is located in the row of flags in the front row of Graceland Park Cemetery that is located on Lakeport Avenue in the neighborhood of Morningside that is located in Sioux City, Iowa . . . that is located in the United States of America.
This is my father's flag donated by our family in recognition of his service to our country in World War II. Some call it the Second World War, some call it the Great Patriotic War. The First World War was the War to end all Wars, but of course this was not the case . . . so there was a World War Two.
This is my father's flag for time spent and time wagered in the 1940's in parts far away in Egypt, in Italy, in France . . . and in many more parts unknown in towns and fields, and places, and mountains, and valleys and more places and more places and more places that would even be difficult to locate on the best of maps.
This is my father's flag for time allowed to write letters home to his mother, for time not allowed for sleep, for two packs of Lucky Strikes won in a game of cards where the winners smoked and the losers played again so that they could smoke, for drinking coffee out of a tin mug, for wearing the color of military green for years at a time, for wearing that same colored helmet for 24 hours at a time, and again for letters that were wrote to home detailing the helmets, the green, the coffee, the cigarettes, and the sleep not allowed.
This is my father's flag for driving wide ammunition trucks over thin bridges, obtaining scars that would never go away, and obtaining sights that would never be spoken about again.
This is my father's flag for his service to his country as a serviceman in the 34th Infantry Division, also known as the Red Bull.
This is my father's flag that is located at the intersection of Sunnybrook and Lakeport directly by and closest to the signal light that is located some thousands of miles away from where many countrymen were laid to rest, and this is this is my father's flag located some mere feet from where he was laid to rest . . . with flag folded . . . with family embolden . . . with widow molded . . . This is my father's flag.
Donald Homer Protexter was born 1922 and served his country in World War II in the Red Bull Division of the United States Army with a three year tour through Africa, Italy, and France. Protexter was best known as the Head Baseball Coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa; a post he held from 1955 until his untimely death in the summer of 1983 at the age of 60. Protexter left behind his loving wife Marvella, and four sons: Mark, Tim, Dan, and Bob. He was buried with honors and a United States flag draped casket.
Bob Protexter followed his father's baseball legacy. He is currently living in Moscow, Russia and is working with the Russian Baseball Federation and is on the coaching staff on the Russian National Baseball Team as they begin playing in international qualifying rounds this summer for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokoyo, Japan.