COVINGTON, Ky. - The unofficial start of summer is never quiet.
The swimming pool and barbeque season starts off with fire trucks, patriotism and lots of sweets — treats for just about everyone.
But while no one is begrudging picnics, parades or candy, the first warm weather holiday is really about those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Old Glory.
And no one is more aware of that than World War II veteran Noah Schweitzer.
"I was a Navy hospital corpsman treating wounded marines on Iwo Jima and turning over dead ones and putting tags on them," said Schweitzer.
The shelling of those Marines as they fought to take the fortified island from the Japanese ruined his hearing. Schweitzer was directed to the dead by hand signals.
"The burial crew buried 6,200 marines on Iwo Jima in 36 days," he said.
The road to that victory paved with American blood.
"I looked up and they put a flag up. But it was a small one. And somebody up there said, ‘Hey, we can't see that flag.' So they sent somebody out to a ship and they brought a bigger one, and they put it up, and that's when Rosenthal 'click' took his picture," he said.
Schweitzer says he regularly visits the graves of those who raised that flag.
"Here I am still walking around on this good earth, and I wonder why."
And while he may never know the answer, his hometown is glad to still count him among the living.
He served as Grand Marshal in Covington's Memorial Day parade on Monday.
"About the greatest honor I've ever had," said Schweitzer.
An honor he shared with two younger generations of Schweitzers — all of which are veterans.
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