Robert Armstead, the son of Robert E. Armstead, a WWII veteran, is close to raising enough money to have his father and two other relatives, also veterans, buried side-by-side with full military honors at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township.
The date for this service has not been finalized.
In addition to Robert E. Armstead, the other family members are Peter Armstead from the Civil War and Earl Armstead from WWI. These three veterans all came from poor rural farms in Michigan.
All three men were honorably discharged and proud to have served their country.
The burial of Peter, Earl and Robert will make history in the state of Michigan as well as the United States, said Robert Armstead. “We cannot find other family members with Civil War, WWI and WWII family linkage that are all buried side-by-side at a National Veterans Cemetery,” he said.
The young Armstead is hoping to raise $15,000 for final burial costs. He is near that amount with his gofundme page, “Paying Tribute to Three Family War Veterans.” Funds will be used for disinterment/reinternment, transportation, funeral home, and other related burial costs.
A motorcade will escort Peter, Earl, and Robert from a local funeral home to the Great Lakes National Cemetery.
Robert Armstead said Peter, Earl and Robert E. served in combat positions in the wars and all developed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in various forms, suffering the rest of their lives after the war with other war-related conditions as well. For many veterans, the pain and suffering of going to war doesn’t stop after the war stops; it painfully lingers on with them for the rest of their lives. Their families suffered as well, as they endured the pain and suffering of watching their loved ones suffer after the wars.
Peter Armstead fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1864. He was captured and placed in a Confederate prisoner of war camp along with other Union prisoners, who survived on nothing more than water and eating tobacco to stay alive. He was discharged for war-related disabilities and suffered from these war related disabilities and laid bed-ridden until he died at the of age 49, leaving behind six children and a wife. Peter married later in life, with his oldest child 14 and his youngest child 9 months at the time of his death. Peter was a farmer prior to the war.
Robert Earl Armstead, referred to as Earl Armstead by his family, fought in World War I in France. He developed emphysema as a result of the war and had a steady cough for the rest of his life. He died earlier than his other family members. Prior to the war, Earl worked as a farmer and a lumberman in Northern Michigan. He was a kind-hearted man who loved his wife, Alberta, and adored his nephew Robert E. Armstead, who would become a WWII veteran.
Robert E. Armstead fought in the European Theater of War during WWII. He served in the armored division (M-4 Sherman Tank) and earned the rank of sergeant. He had hearing loss and developed other conditions as a result of being in the war, which he dealt with the rest of his life. He was born in 1926 on a poor rural farm in Northern Michigan in one of the worst snowstorms. He was born a blue baby (a baby with a blue complexion from lack of oxygen in the blood due to a congenital defect of the heart or major blood vessels) and had come very close to death. He barely survived the Great Depression. After the war he started his own construction company and hired veterans.