By CALVIN ADKINS
FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The American Flag flying at the home of World War II veteran Walfield Cobb was only one of signs he was proud of his country.
Cobb was honored Tuesday during the 118th Memorial Flag-Raising Service sponsored by Tarboro Golden K Kiwanis. His five children, Teresa Cobb, Tim Cobb, Polley Briley, Trudy Gallinotto and Karen Mobley attended the event.
Cobb served in World War II from Sept. 1, 1944 to June 2, 1945. He returned to his Edgecombe County home and began a family, retiring from Glenoit after 32 years. Cobb died Sept. 30, 2011 at the age of 86.
"He was first and foremost and example of what a father, grandfather and a man should be," said Briley. "He was a loving but strong father and he believed in discipline when needed. He was proud to serve his country and proud to fly his flag every day."
Cobb served in Europe and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. His duties earned him a medal of honor, good conduct medal, Europe African campaign medal and the Army of Occupation medal. Cobb didn't talk too much about his experiences, but when he did, he had the undivided attention of those to whom he was talking. One of the stories included a fellow soldier named "Red" who saved his life when they were fleeing hostile fire.
"As they were trying to get away from enemy fire, Daddy and Red crawled underneath a train," Karen Mobley told the audience. "Daddy's backpack got caught underneath the train. He yelled at Red that he couldn't get out. Red risked his own life and turned around and unhooked Daddy. The enemy fire was still going strong, but Red did not leave daddy behind. Daddy would always get emotional when telling that story."
Mobley also shared a story humorous story about when her father's mother sent him a bath robe during his first Christmas overseas. She said the soldiers teased him about it. Perhaps the most heartwarming story she shared was when her father came home after the war had ended.
"He talked about when he was coming home from the war (riding on a ship to New York)," Mobley said. "He remembered seeing the Statue of Liberty. He said it was so tiny that he could barely see it. But it kept getting larger and larger as they approached New York. He said it was the most beautiful site that he had ever seen."
After arriving in New York, Cobb boarded a train to Wilson. From there, he caught a cab home where his parents were, coincidentally, sitting on the porch in a swing.
"When they saw it was him in the cab, he said they were fighting each other to see which one was going to get to him first," Mobley said. "He said that was one of the happiest days of his life."
He loved the American flag and what it stood for, but most of all, he loved his country, the United States of America, the land of the free. Free because men and women, including my daddy, gave all that they had to protect this great nation. Their history deserves a place at your dinner table, your work, or where ever it may be. Honor there scarifies and cherish there memories as we cherish our memory of our daddy."
The flag-raising services are normally held on the first Monday of every month at the Veterans Memorial on the Town Common to honor deceased Edgecombe County veterans. The services include lowering the American flag of the veteran honored the previous month and raising the flag of the veteran who is being honored. Cadets from Tarboro High School's Junior ROTC program handle the flag-raising chores.