Do you remember what you were doing in 1968? Master Sgt. William H Cox remembers exactly what was happening on New Year’s Eve of that year. It was that year when he and his friend, First Sgt. James L Hollingsworth were in a bunker and under fire in Vietnam. They weren’t sure if they were going to make it through the night, let alone make it home once the war was over.
Cox and Hollingsworth had fought together for quite some time and they also developed a friendship. Hollingsworth at one point had leaned over to Cox during the night and asked him to make a promise. He knew that he would have to keep the promise, regardless of what happened between now and then.
Hollingsworth said it quietly so as not to give away their position:
“If we survived this attack, or survived Vietnam, we would contact each other every year on New Year’s.”
Thankfully, both men were alive when they left Vietnam and they were able to keep their promise for over 50 years. Every few months they would call each other, catch up on the latest in their lives and give some well-wishes.
They both had their own families and lived happy lives but, unfortunately, Hollingsworth passed away when he was 80 years old. Cox had remembered the promise he made that night in the bunker. He gave an interview to FOX19 news and share the promise.
“He said, ‘Willie I got one more thing I want you to promise me. He said you know me better than my own family and I want you to do my eulogy.’
That was a rough mission.”
Was able to make good on his promise that he had made so many years before.
He stood guard over the casket in his dress uniform and delivered the eulogy. When the service was over, he revealed what the last words he said the Hollingsworth were:
“I said, ‘Those silver wings that we wear, you’ll be trading yours in heaven for your golden wings and I know when I show up, you’ll be waiting at the gate for me to trade my wings, too.’
When I finished the eulogy, I closed out with, ‘Hollie, you keep ’em flying and I’ll keep ’em firing.”
Five decades had passed since they made that promise but they had never forgotten about it.
“People ask me, ‘Haven’t you forgot about the promise?’
I say, ‘No, I haven’t forgot about it. A promise made is a promise kept, especially to another Marine.'”
Nothing can ever take away the pain that he is feeling but he was able to keep his words to his best friend.
You can see more about his promise and how he kept it in this video: