Celebration of Life for a Vietnam Veteran

Friends and family came together Friday to celebrate the life of a well-known Vietnam veteran Friday in Lackawanna County.

There were tears of joy, sadness and love as friends and family came together at Saint Eulalia’s Church near Elmhurst. They came to celebrate the life of a decorated war hero who died in a fire last month.

The fire at his home on Freytown Road near Moscow, took the life of 69 year old Robert Hemphill.

A friend of Hemphill’s wife said he will never be forgotten.

“He was such a wonderful man he gave so much of himself to this country and such a servant of the United States, and he did such a good job in that role and in the community, he’s done so many things,” said Anne Domin from Elmhurst.

VFW Commander Russell Canevari of Jessup said it’s a special bond that veterans have that brought him out to remember and celebrate Hemphill’s life.

“Bob was a very highly decorated Vietnam veteran whether anyone knows it or not he received a silver star, the second highest metal that the United States gives. He was awarded four bronze stars and Bob was very instrumental in the movie platoon,” said Canevari.

One of the men in Hemphill’s platoon in Vietnam, was Oliver Stone, the man who later directed the movie “Platoon.”

Hemphill also later wrote the book “Platoon-Bravo Company” based on his real life experiences in Vietnam.

Don Knight said Hemphill was one amazing man.

“He was just a nice guy. I mean he was involved in the community after his service. I just have a lot of respect for the man,” said Knight.

Even though his wife lost everything from this devastating fire, it just so happens that Robert had sent family photos to a relative just before the fire.

Photos of he and his wife that were placed at the memorial service, along with a slide show filled with the best memories of a true hero’s life.

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