TRIP OF A LIFETIME

John A. Pildner, Sr. saluting at the memorial marker for the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge at Arlington National Cemetery.

John A. Pildner, Sr. saluting at the memorial marker for the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge at Arlington National Cemetery.

Submitted by John A. Pildner, Sr., 75th Infantry Division, 290th Regiment, Anti-Tank Company

John A. Pildner, Sr., a veteran of the United States Army who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, attended the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, Sr. He was accompanied on this trip to Washington D.C. by his son, John A. Pildner, Jr., a veteran of the United States Navy and daughter, Pamela J. St. Angelo.

The Pildners’ experience of attending a Presidential Inauguration Ceremony together was a rare opportunity to witness a piece of American history that occurs once every four years. There were many who helped make this trip happen: family members, friends, and even a stranger who was also present at the rally in Geneva.

This trip started when Pildner, Sr. and his daughter Pam attended a Trump rally at the Spire Institute located near Geneva, OH. A memorable moment here was when, at the conclusion of the campaign speech, Mr. Trump saluted Pildner, Sr., to which he offered a return salute.

John A. Pildner, Sr. addresses a group of visitors at the memorial marker for the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. 

John A. Pildner, Sr. addresses a group of visitors at the memorial marker for the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

The Pildners’ trip to Washington, D.C. was highlighted by a side trip to Arlington National Cemetery. They visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Pildners witnessed the changing of the guard. Here the Pildners were greeted by Marty McFarlin, a Tomb Guard who served in 1973 – 1974, and who emotionally thanked Pildner, Sr. and all of the WWII veterans who fought to preserve, protect, and defend the freedoms of many around the world.

Another highlight of this occasion was locating the burial spot of Dalton Raze, who was a platoon leader in the 290th Anti-Tank Company of the 75th Infantry Division. He rose through the ranks from a 2nd Lieutenant to a Full Colonel at the time of his retirement from the military. At one time during his military career, Raze had carried the codes for the U. S. President.

Pildner served in the mine platoon of the 290th Regiment Anti-Tank Company of the 75th Infantry Division.  This was the same company in which Dalton D. Raze served during WWII.

This trip to the Presidential Inauguration of Donald J. Trump, Sr. was a great experience!

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