I do a lot of funerals in my years as a minister, and have done my share of weddings as well. It never gets any easier when you lay to rest a great Christian who really epitomized what a true Christ follower is.
Paul F. Clites has been a member of Calvary Baptist church for many years. He served his country in World War II and was still able to fit into his uniform as a 90 year old veteran.
He lived most all his life in Western Maryland and worked at Sears in Cumberland for a number of years serving this community in various tasks, doing his duty, living his life with respect and honor.
Paul was not the loud vocal type that was making his opinions known to all who came by, but quietly telling students and children the value of our heritage as Americans.
You see, Paul was a soldier in 1943-44 in war-torn Europe. He visited many towns that summer of 1944 and freed many French, German and Belgian communities from the tyranny of a crazed, charismatic lunatic bent on destroying everyone in his path.
Paul took great pride in wearing that old faded olive green uniform of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
When high school students saw it at Mountain Ridge High School, they were in awe at this old legend who would come and tell them in his strained voice about D-Day in 1944 and the way our troops drove the Germans back.
The history department at Mountain Ridge HS and Calvary Christian Academy were blessed to have Paul come and share his stories of a different time in our history.
Paul was not an officer or a hero in some battle, but he was loyal, faithful and respectful in this community. He obeyed the laws of our land, lived to honor his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and influenced all who would stop by and talk about the old days, when we knew who the enemy was and how our nation could be great again.
Tom Brokaw writes in “The Greatest Generation”:
“I now know that it is in those small ceremonies and quiet moments that this generation is appropriately honored. No fanfare required. They’ve had their parades. They’ve heard the speeches. They know what they have accomplished and they are proud. They will have their World War II memorial and their place in the ledgers of history, but no block of marble or elaborate edifice can equal their lives of sacrifice and achievement, duty and honor, as monuments to their time.
Douglas MacArthur said in 1951: “Old soldiers never die they just fade away”
Paul is not fading away — he has a home in heaven — prepared for those who know the LORD. He is not fading — he is healed — never cold again — with his Daisy Pearl and thousands of other vets and my dad — JOHN.
Paul is no longer sick, no longer tired, no longer weak. He was a man’s man — an example of kindness, love and devotion.
Allegany County was blessed to have him live here. We bid you farewell until we meet again in heaven. We need more Paul Clites in this world. Let’s not forget our vets and what they mean to our heritage.
Pastor Bruce A. McBride
Calvary Baptist Church