Dressed from head to toe in U.S. Army green, Justus “Jay ” Belfield celebrated his final Veterans Day in style.
The 98-year-old World War II vet died early Wednesday morning — just hours after the national holiday concluded — Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New York confirmed to the Daily Gazette of Schenectady.
Christine Camp, an employee at the center, was with Belfield and his wife, Lillian, before other family members arrived on Tuesday .
“I could see him breathing, and I leaned down and I looked at him and I said, ‘Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service,'” Camp told the outlet.
Photo: Nancy McKiernan
Belfield had spent 16 years in the Army, according to the Associated Press, and wore his uniform for every Veterans Day. Too weak to participate in the center’s patriotic festivities on Tuesday, the former master sergeant requested to be dressed in his uniform, even though he was confined to his bed for the day.
Belfield, who spoke English, French and German, and also fought in the Korean War, joined Lillian in the center in April of last year, News 10 ABC reported.
Julie Stubbs Tutunjian honored her grandfather in the photo’s comment section on News 10 ABC’s Facebook page:
“Thank you everyone for your kind words,” she wrote. “My grandfather was very proud to have served his country. Our family is sad of his passing but we know he is with the Lord now.”