98-Year-Old Veteran Exemplifies True Honor During Memorial Day Ceremony

June 01, 2018 12:15 AM

(WDIO) -- It was your normal Memorial Day ceremony at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth on Monday.

There, was a similar scene seen across the country, the American flag flying high, veterans saluting, and onlookers paying their respects all in honor of our fallen soldiers. Then, came an unusual moment of true honor.


98-year-old Wayne Hoffman had fallen down during the recorded taps, and ceremonial bugle presentation. 

In a video sent to Eyewitness News, you can see a fellow Honor Guard member try to help him up, but Wayne held his position, on the ground with the bugle to his mouth, for nearly a minute until it was over. 

Afterward, his comrades helped lift him back up.

Since Monday, the video has spread showing an act of true dedication. Eyewitness News spoke to Wayne, who takes it all in good humor.

"Everybody has seen that (video). I was a good tumbler when I was a young boy," Hoffman joked.

Wayne currently lives at Edgewood Vista, where you can see him always putting a smile on the nurses' faces.

The World War II veteran, who volunteers with the Duluth Honor Guard, told us the seat that used for the ceremony was very shaky.

"I knew it wasn't very steady, and I was nervous anyway," said Hoffman. "When I got to the very end, the heartbreaker, I felt myself going backward and what was going to do."

At that moment, he said what was most important was that he held his composure. 

"I didn't want to spoil the squads service. The person that was being honored. I sure didn't want to make a fool of myself," said Hoffman. "I just couldn't just quit."

Those were admirable values for the Proctor native, who joined the Navy in high school. Besides serving our country, he was a musician. He started playing the trombone at age eight, then violin, so playing the bugle was nothing new to him.

"I played a million times," said Hoffman.

Today, he's a member of the American Legion, and was on the first Honor Flight Northland in 2011. Among that, he's a dad, and grandfather and, of course, proud veteran

Hoffman says he's gotten many comments from people who have seen the inspiring video but says he was just doing what was right and honorable.

"It doesn't make me feel any different," he said.

His service and respect for the service of so many others will never be forgotten.

Wayne turns 99 this November. John Marshall with the Honor Guard says they are extremely proud of him, and that they will be doing something special to honor him.


Taylor Holt

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