“The Last Salute” A Story of Love, Sacrifice, Honor And Forgiveness


The Last Salute is a true story penned by author Robert Paley to pay tribute to his father and is dedicated “in honor of all of those who have served and all of those who have fallen”.

Paley started writing the book 20 years ago. His father served in the Korean and Vietnam War. When Paley was 12 years old his father was 100% disabled from his service in Vietnam and went into the VA hospital. He had meningitis and water in his brain and had to undergo surgery. That’s when Paley’s mother pulled out a box that held his father’s medals and trinkets from his service. “It was so strange how this box told me about my father’s heroic history,” said Paley.

He noticed the box had a lot of silver dollars. His mother explained the military tradition. When an officer becomes commissioned he asks a sergeant that he respects to give him his first salute and then the officer gives the sergeant a silver dollar. “I realized how respected he must have been,” said Paley. He asked his mother for a silver dollar from that year, a 1978 Eisenhower silver dollar. She handed it to him, and he said to her, “not only is dad going to survive his surgery but I’m going to become an officer and dad is going to be my first salute.” That changed the course of Paley’s life.

Paley went on to become a West Point cadet and did get his first salute from his father and unfortunately it was his father’s last salute.

In 2018 Paley was working on a master’s thesis but couldn’t get past page 2. He had never had a problem writing before. His psychologist at the VA recommended the Save a Warrior program. “I’m not like others who have been in major combat and have been blown up,” said Paley. But his psychologist said there’s more to it than that. So on December 2, 2018 Paley agreed to enter the program. Ironically it was the anniversary of his father’s death. Six weeks later Paley finished the program, on his father’s birthday.

“It’s a tribute,” Paley said about the book. “I want Americans to not just stop on Memorial Day to honor our fallen but to understand every day there’s veterans out there suffering, families that are going through unbelievable trauma,” adds Paley. “So I hope they take away that the love and respect that they give us when they thank you for your service is appreciated but the sacrifice is real.”

Robert Paley’s book, The Last Salute is available on Amazon.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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