Eulogy for Larry Palmer
By CSM (Retired) Kenneth O. Merritt
I first met Larry Palmer some 56 years ago in the 508th Parachute Infantry
Regiment. We were both assigned to the same company, same platoon and we
stayed together throughout the war. Larry made all the combat operations
that the 508th made, including the jump into Normandy, the jump into
Nijmegen, Holland and the Battle of the Bulge operation. Larry was a small
man in stature but a big man in heart and soul -- always cheerful with a
big smile on his face. There was a great man from the state of Oklahoma by
the name of Will Rogers who once said, "I never met a man that I didn't
like." And I can truthfully say, without any reservations, that I never --
and I repeat never -- heard Larry say one bad word about another human
Larry was not a general or colonel in World War II. No, he was just a
Squad Leader doing the job that he was trained to do and he was also our
friend -- a friendship that has lasted over 56 years.
Larry was not a politician, a statesman or a judge. No. He was just a man,
our friend. Larry was not a rich man, a doctor or lawyer. No. He was just
a man, our friend. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could say of
every father, brother and husband that we bury --"There lies a great man."
And today I can say without any reservation, "Here lies a great man."
In addition to his military service, Larry was a devoted husband, father,
grandfather, great-grandfather, a businessman for over 50 years here in
Augusta, a big fan of the Atlanta Braves, a member of the 508th P.I.R.
Association and a member of the Masonic Lodge. Lt. Epps, our assistant
platoon leader in World War II, told me 25 years after the war that Larry
Palmer was one of the coolest men in combat that he had ever seen. A
couple of years ago I asked Larry about his coolness in combat and Larry
said, "Rock, I was scared to death. I just didn't want the troops to see
how really scared I was."
We are coming to the end of an era for our World War II soldiers and we
owe them more than we can ever pay. Let us not forget that Larry gave over
three years of his life in World War II to safeguard against those who
would like to overthrow our way of life. History tells us that in America
it has always been the American soldier that upholds our way of life. It
is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the
press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of
speech. It is the soldier not the campus organizer, who has given us
freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves
beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who protects the
protester to burn our American flag. Yes, we owe this man and his family
more than we will ever be able to pay. Larry, I and 1,293 members of the
508th P.I.R. Association are proud to have served with you and to call you
and your family our friends.
Mr. Lawrence Edgar Palmer Sr., 78, of Augusta, died Thursday, Nov. 5,
1998, at University Hospital.
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Woodlawn United Methodist
Church with the Rev. Thom Shores officiating. Burial will be in
Hillcrest Memorial Park.
Mr. Palmer, a native of Augusta, had retired as a businessman. He was a
member emeritus of Webb Lodge 166 of the Free and Accepted Masons. He
was an Army veteran of World War II, where he was a member of the 508th
Parachute Infantry Regiment Association. Mr. Palmer fought in the Battle
of the Bulge and parachute jumped in Normandy on D-Day.
Survivors include his wife, Laura Landrum Palmer; two sons, Lawrence E.
Palmer Jr. and Troy Palmer, both of Augusta; five daughters, Cheryl
Palmer Gray, Dublin, Emily Palmer Boyles, North Augusta, Ann Palmer
Nelson, Roswell, Bunny Palmer, Augusta, and Susan Palmer Creger,
Marietta; a sister, Bernice Palmer Borup, North Augusta; and 10
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers will be Forrest Maddox, John Morris, Osborne Maddox, Stewart
Morris, Jim Quattlebaum and Paul Felberg.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of the 508th Parachute Infantry
Memorials may be made to Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 2220 Walton
Way, Augusta, GA 30904.
Friends may call at the residence or at Poteet Funeral Home, Peach
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral
(The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, GA, 6 Nov 1998,