Daughter honors military dad with memorial tribute

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Next Monday, the nation will pause to honor our military veterans. One of those veterans is a Woolmarket man who served during the Vietnam War.

He passed away eight years ago, but was not buried with full military honors. His daughter arranged a memorial presentation Monday, but the tribute didn't turn out as she expected.

Whispering the words, "I love you", Sandra Ainsworth watched as her husband placed mementos on her dad's grave. Emotions and memories came flooding back.

"Old memories, saying goodbye, but not forgetting them. I just wanted to do a special thing for my daddy," said Ainsworth of Woolmarket.

Her father, Earl Ray O'Quin Sr., served four years during the Vietnam War. The Army Specialist was stationed in Germany.

"Momma got this from daddy when he was stationed in his last tour, all the cities of Germany," said Ainsworth as she showed off a bracelet she was wearing.

O'Quin lost his battle with cancer in October of 2005. The 67-year-old veteran was laid to rest at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

"He passed away shortly after Katrina. With that situation, there was not full military honors given to him at that time," said Ainsworth.

She also said the Honor Guard was not available, because many members were deployed to the Middle East.

"It's been eight years and I wanted to give him another tribute to let him know his daddy's little girl hadn't forgotten about him," she said.

Ainsworth arranged to have an Honor Guard memorial presentation for her dad on Monday. Only two members were available, and they presented her with an American flag. It wasn't the ceremony she expected, yet Ainsworth was not disappointed, but rather grateful.

"I do appreciate them and I thank them very much for their cooperation and their dedication," said Ainsworth.

She believes the small tribute reflected the lessons her dad taught her of dignity, respect, and love of country.

"To give what he was deserving, what he should have gotten eight years ago. But circumstances like Katrina and the conflicts of the world we don't always get what we want. But I think he would be very proud of what I've done today," said Ainsworth.

Ainsworth lost her mother in January. Mary O'Quin is buried next to her husband of 44 years. Ainsworth comes from a proud military family. Five of her family members have served their country.

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