Robert Kohler, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran, is no stranger to honoring military heroes.
He’s an avid long-distance runner who regularly carries two large American flags in each arm during races, which included this year’s virtual 2020 Dana Point Turkey Trot.
After picking up distance running in the mid-1980s, Kohler has since run enough miles to circle the circumference of the world. He completed many of those races while carrying flags in honor of the nation’s military veterans.
The Irvine local is active at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine.
On May 30, Memorial Day weekend, Kohler will continue to honor his fellow veterans at the 10 a.m. Mass, which will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in-person.
“I will read a poem that I read in 2010 when we moved from an old location. Four stanzas of Just a Common Soldier,” he told The Epoch Times.
The poem was written by newspaper columnist and Canadian military veteran Lawrence Vaincourt in 1987. It has since been read in tribute by former military servicemen throughout the world.
Kohler, the leader of his parish’s veterans’ ministry, will also be honoring fellow veterans who have recently passed or were killed in action.
“I do this every Memorial Day where I show pictures of our deceased parish veterans,” Kohler said. “I have 53 this year.”
“I started out with nine in 2011. Our parish is unique in that one of our young men was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012.”
U.S Army Private First-Class Cale C. Miller, 23, was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom on May 12, 2012.
“He is among the dead I will be talking about.” Kohler said. “I hope I can hold my emotions in check when I show this picture of the boy who was killed.”
Those attending the service in person service at 51 Marketplace in Irvine are requested to observe the current COVID-19 protocols. A livestream of the event will be available on the church’s Facebook page at 10 a.m.
“[It’s] a special event at my Catholic parish here in Irvine.” Kohler shared. “Someone’s gotta do it.”