Serving One’s Country

President Elect William Howard Taft, photograph by Horace Dade Ashton

On this Memorial Day we remember those who served our country, many of whom sacrificed their lives.

Horace Dade Ashton served the United States in many different ways during the 90+ years he spent on earth. He began his service as President Theodore Roosevelt’s official White House photographer, and this position took him around the world with President-Elect William Howard Taft. He took many photographs of these presidents that have been preserved for posterity.

When The Great War (as World War I was initially named) broke out, Horace was asked to help the United States Army instruct men in aerial photography for our nation’s war efforts. He was appointed a reserve officer in the United States Army Signal Corps. At the time he did not realize what a pivotal role aerial photography would play in the war, but he willingly put his career on hold to help his country.

A few years later the U.S. asked Horace to serve as a scout for the United States Marines in Haiti, an island nation he loved and knew well. He wrote about this experience and expressed his concern for the human and economic welfare of Haiti during the time he spent there.

In 1940 Horace Dade Ashton was appointed as the first Cultural Attaché to the United States Embassy in Haiti by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Horace made many contributions to the nation’s welfare, and he was recognized by the U.S. and Haitian governments for his philanthropic deeds.

Horace’s sons Marc and Todd also served our country in the United States Army. Marc began serving in 1963, and Todd went to Vietnam. Marc credits his army training with helping him when he was kidnapped in 2001.

The Ashton family exemplifies service to one’s country, and on this Memorial Day we salute them and all who served and sacrificed for our freedom.

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