A dairy and grain farmer, John went on to work for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 31 years. He loved his wife, raised his kids, and made a better culture and country.

For Kendra and the many Shrode children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, this will be a Memorial Day without “Papa John.” John Denzil Shrode, 8th Platoon, Company C, 6th Naval Beach Battalion, died November 5, 2011.

John’s final resting place is quintessentially American. It sits aside a tombstone awaiting his beloved wife and across from the baseball field in small-town America where he played and coached his children for years.

“As I stood looking at the flag tributes and glanced over at the fields,” says Kendra of a recent visit to John’s grave, “I realized he will be forever with us all.”

For all of those veterans who didn’t make it to Memorial Day this year, I say thank you. You remain constants — forever with us all.

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s MentorHis other books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

Publication date: May 22, 2013