The late Paul Freeman Lee was laid to rest yesterday at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Marpi with full military honors.
His funeral was the result of a collaboration between the Veteran’s Affairs Office under the CNMI Office of the Governor and the U.S Naval Forces in Guam.
Lee was a retired officer in the U.S. Naval Forces.
Six men and women ventured to the CNMI in order to properly honor Lee with a three-rifle volley salute, personally carrying Lee’s casket into its final resting place, and personally handing the U.S. flag to Lee’s widow.
After accepting the flag from the servicemen, Lee’s wife, Barbara, said, that although she is going to deeply miss her husband, it was an honor and a pleasant surprise to have servicemen from the military arm that her husband had served, honor him in the way that they did.
Michelle Lee, the daughter of Lee, will always remember him as the strong man she had always known. She said that, although her father was sick for a long time, he carried himself like he was not and never allowed anyone to feel sorry for him.
Lee was a veteran of the Vietnam War and received multiple military accolades in his 30 years of service.
He was a recipient of a Purple Heart, a Vietnam Service Medal with a silver and two bronze stars, Humanitarian Service Medal, 7th Good Conduct Award, and more.
Lee is survived by his wife, their three children Steve, Paul Jr., and Michelle, and their grandchildren.
It was VA executive director Stanley Iakopo’s first military funeral since he took office.
Iakopo hopes to honor all the veterans in the Commonwealth in a similar way with at least one representative from the Department of Defense in the veteran’s respective division when they were still in the armed forces.
Iakopo said the service was a collaborative effort with partner agencies like the Department of Public Works and the Saipan Mayor’s Office, who prepared the burial ground for Lee at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Marpi.