I Salute You, Pop

It wasn’t unexpected, but when I learned late yesterday afternoon that his time had come, it was still jarring. He had been prepared for it for a while, ready for his moment. He went quietly, asleep. My father, Edwin S. Greenfield, born 1925, passed away yesterday. His wife, my mother, Phyllis Joy Greenfield, passed away in 2015.

My father served in the 86th Infantry in World War II, Blackhawk Division, in Europe, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Good Conduct medal. After raising two kids, he joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, where he became the Public Affairs Officer for the Lake Worth Inlet Coast Guard station in Florida. He loved his Coasties, and they were incredibly kind to him.

There, he started his last “cause,” Wreaths Over The Water. He wanted to remember those service men and women who had no headstone upon which to lay a wreath, and included all services, including the merchant marines whose contributions weren’t sufficiently recognized, to join in the ceremony. It was his fervant hope that it continue after he’s gone.

My father asked one thing of me when his time came, that I salute him. I will do so physically later today, when we’re alone, but I do so publicly now. He lived a full, long life. He gave to others. He gave to me. I salute you, Pop.

Edwin S. Greenfield
1925 – 2019

I hope you will forgive me for not replying to each comment below, but thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

January 19, 2019: My father’s funeral was yesterday. I’m back today, as life goes on and he was a very practical man. Please accept my thanks for your comments and wishes. They are deeply appreciated.

84 thoughts on “I Salute You, Pop

  1. Kathleen Casey

    A good life. A well-earned rest. …and say Amen.

    Thinking of you and your family as you let him go. My condolences.


  2. Murray Newman

    I’m so sorry, my friend. Your dad had an amazing life and he has an amazing legacy with his service and Wreaths Over the Water. More importantly, he has a family who loves and honors him.

    That’s a life well lived.

  3. Cristian


    I know you’re not a praying man, but I am an I’ll pray that you’ll find solace in the full life your father lived and all be imparted on you.

    May we all aspire to leave a mark on others.

  4. Ayo Akinjokun

    You know it not only touched me as i read that he was older than my parents; but of importance was the statement that: he wanted to remember those service men and women who had no headstone upon which to lay a wreath, and included all services. Scott, it is nothing but a beautiful history he left you with given his duty to country but also is considered duty to both the unknown and those with no one to remember them. I have no doubt that he has created a place of service in your heart and the world but also of rest in his belief and heaven. God bless.

  5. Lawrence Kaplan

    I think all the readers of Simple Justice should salute your father— for his life well lived and for a son who did him proud. My sympathies for your loss.

  6. tk

    A very good way to define the worth of a life is to measure it in terms of the services performed for our fellow man.
    The greatest generation indeed.

  7. wilbur

    I lost my father 15 years ago. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him in some way. The best I can wish for you is that you will cherish your memories as I do.

  8. Lyle Jones

    “Sleep in peace, Soldier brave. God is nigh”. Sounds like a life well lived, my condolences on your loss,

  9. LocoYokel

    An honorable man with a an honorable life well lived and a honorable legacy, I salute him. Condolences to you and your family.

  10. Karl Erich Martell

    My condolences to your family on this loss. May his memory be a blessing; it sounds as if all of us were blessed by his presence.

  11. Hunting Guy

    MSgt. John C. Weiss, USAF (Ret)

    “There is no higher calling than serving in your countries military.”


    Day is done, gone the sun,
    From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
    All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

    Fading light, dims the sight,
    And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
    From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

    Thanks and praise, for our days,
    ‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, neath the sky;
    As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

    Sun has set, shadows come,
    Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
    Always true to the promise that they made.

    While the light fades from sight,
    And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
    To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

  12. Patrick Maupin

    My heartfelt condolences for you and your family, Scott.

    May your father’s good works ripple through the generations.

  13. Catherine Mulcahey

    I will be in the neighborhood after work today, so will drive by the Coast Gard station at the Lake Worth Inlet and salute in person.

  14. Kevin Drew

    I’m sure he’d say that his greatest accomplishment was raising his children. I’m sure you’ve made him proud and filled him with a great sense of accomplishment!

  15. B. McLeod

    My condolences to the whole family. This is never an easy thing, but whether one believes in an afterlife or not, it would be hard for anyone to have lived life much better.

  16. Eddie Harrington

    You’re a very lucky guy to have had such a great father and to have had him around for so long. I wish I had been so lucky. My condolences to you and the rest of your family, Scott.

  17. Black Bellamy

    His division arrived in France in March 1945, participated in 34 days of combat and suffered nearly 800 casualties. I know I’m just repeating Wikipedia here, but I can’t help but wonder what must have been going through their minds, knowing that the war was almost over, that the Germans were about to be rolled over that one final time, and here they are, essentially green troops that will be facing hardened battle veterans fighting with their backs to the wall one final time.

    Kudos to them and kudos to your pop.


  18. thompson

    My condolences to you and your family. One of the greatest mark of a man is the the people and works he leaves behind. In both family and service the world is better for having had him in it.

  19. Nathan

    You have my deepest sympathy, Scott. I join the others in saluting your father and a life well lived. May your memories of him bring comfort, and when the time is right, joy.

  20. Jill P McMahon

    My dad and I send our condolences, Jeff. From what you write, your dad lived a long, interesting, and wonderful life.

  21. Jake

    Condolences, Scott. At my mother’s wake a beloved, trusted family friend shook my hand and said: “It is one of the most natural things in the world, for a son to see his parents pass on.” and this knowledge was comforting to me. I hope it is to you, too.

  22. AH

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have written a beautiful tribute today, but all you write and do is a tribute to him. My thoughts are with you.

  23. William

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether it was expected, he’s still your dad.

  24. Casual Lurker

    Nothing anyone says ever seems adequate. I can only echo the sentiments others have already expressed. I’ll only add that I hope you find peace and solace in knowing he lived a good, long life, with many achievements.

    Having raised such a loving son to see him off is further testament to those achievements.

    While I’m not a particularly religious person, I do believe in tradition. As I would (and have) for members of my own family, I’ll recite the El Maleh Rachamim in honor of your father.

    My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

    PS: While sitting Shiva, try to not consume too much potato salad.

  25. Christopher Best

    Words aren’t enough, but they’re all we’ve got. Our condolences. God bless. We could all hope to be half the man your father was.

  26. Rich in Fla

    My sincerest condolences for your loss.

    Your father not only embodied the spirit of The Greatest Generation that led
    our nation to victory in WWII, but also stood as a shining example of civic responsibility.

    Having returned to service, giving of himself to benefit his community and country, ensuring
    that the legacy of that those who sacrificed their lives continues regardless of their station in
    life, is simply an incredible achievement.

    I salute your father and your touching tribute to him. I will think of him whenever I pass the
    inlet or see the Coasties nearby.


    My heartfelt condolences. And a salute to your departed Father for his many years of service.

  28. Mark Brooks

    Mr. Greenfield
    My sincere condolences to you on the loss of your father. Clearly I did not know him, but his efforts to remember those who served (especially the merchant marine) and have no headstone to commemorate them is a true measure of his character.

    Mark Brooks
    St. Elizabeth

  29. PaulaMarie Susi

    What an amazing man; he gave so much and never stopped serving, the truest of heroes. The Greatest Generation, in deed. I salute your Pop along with everyone else, deeply appreciative for his service, and grieve for your loss. Time, while never truly healing, does ease.

  30. RedditLaw

    Please accept my condolences for the loss of your father, Mr. Greenfield. He was fortunate to live a good, long life, surrounded by those who loved him.

  31. Laches

    My deepest sympathies for your loss. I wish you and your family all the best. Thank you for sharing this touching tribute – that is a wonderful photo of the two of you together, and it sounds like your Dad was truly a great man. May he rest in peace.

  32. Morgan O.

    At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them. Rest well, sir. The watch is ended.

    Deepest condolences on the passing of your father.

  33. Kevin OKeefe

    A good, full life of service to others and seeing that his children and their children were happy is a wonderful achievement. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your father.

  34. Tom Moran

    Every person who wore his nation’s uniform honorably has earned the right to be carried to his grave under the flag of the nation he served. Your father honorably served the United States both in war as a soldier and in peace as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Like my father, he was a member of the greatest generation who saved the world.
    Be proud of his legacy. Honor it. And, remember that he has now rejoined his wife.

  35. Jeff Davidson

    You and all who loved him are in my thoughts and my prayers. Thank you for sharing more of his life with us.

  36. Christian

    I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog, but this is my first post.

    You dad sounds like a great, stand-up guy. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  37. ShootingHipster

    Scott, please accept my condolences. Your dad lived a full life and leaves a legacy he could be proud of.

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