Elderly Marine stands post in Lutz on Memorial Day despite rainy weather

Heart of Tampa Bay

LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) – Drivers heading down U.S. 41 in Lutz on Memorial Day witnessed quite a sight. A man in uniform waving a flag in the rain. That man was 87-year old Boddie Osteen, a retired Marine who believes this day is much more than a day for beach trips or barbeques.

“I’m remembering my buddies, who a lot of them didn’t come back,” said Osteen. “I’m remembering them, how we fought, how we cried.”

For the past four years, Osteen has waved a flag at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Fourth Avenue Northwest, just a stone’s throw away from the modest home he shares with his wife.

He waves the flag on Memorial Day and on Veteran’s Day. He also marches in the Lutz 4th of July parade, which this year has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

He proudly wears his uniform and shows of a picture of himself when he enlisted in the Marines. Although, it’s hard for him to believe, that picture was taken 70-years ago. He was just 17-years old.

A senior at Hillsborough High School. He was a boy when he left the states and returned as a man: Corporal Boddie Osteen.

As the cars drove by, many drivers beeped and waved.

“Once a Marine, always a Marine. There’s no changing. And that’s why I wear this uniform today because I love it,” said Osteen. “I love my country. And if I had to go back in today, I’d go back in today. But I’m too old.”

But Osteen is not too old to remember those who fought for our freedom and never returned home. So, will he be at the same intersection next year? “I’ll be out there next year. Good Lord willing, and if the creek don’t rise!”

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