It’s never too late to pay tribute to a hero.
Eugene Dednam of Hackensack, New Jersey was a solitary man who kept to himself. He didn’t have any siblings, and he never married or had children. He recently passed away at age 100, his U.S. Army uniform hanging solemnly in this closet. His body lay unclaimed for a month before county officials heard about his service to our country.
Eugene joined the army when he was just 21 years old. He served in a segregated unit for six campaigns in World War II, earning multiple medals and other honors. His job was to drive supply trucks to the front lines of battle, helping the armed services fend off the Nazis. When he returned to the States after the war, he worked at Macy’s in New York City.
Neighbor DeShaun Hicks said that Eugene was a private person, but he was proud of his service to his country.
“Mr. Dedham was a person who pretty much stayed to himself,” DeShaun said. “He was very reserved, very quiet in that regard. He liked to do things on his own. He wouldn’t talk too much about what happened, but he was proud to serve, very proud to serve.”
With no family or friends to honor him, community leaders arranged for a full military funeral to be held free of charge. Dozens of veterans and other officials attended the event. The American flag was draped over his casket, and he was buried in his uniform, which was his final wish.
“It’s just, for me, it’s a small expression of appreciation to a generation that’s almost gone,” explained Brian Warner, funeral director of Warner Wozniak Funeral Service.
“The world needed to see this, people need to see this, that people are coming together for one common cause, and that’s to honor people that are living and that passed away,” said DeShaun.
It’s tragic that Eugene didn’t have more support during his lifetime, but we are glad he was laid to rest with all of the pride and respect he deserved.
Don’t forget to share Eugene Dednam’s story to pay respect to this American hero.
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