In the midst of battle in a Vietnam bunker on New Year’s Eve in 1968, while rockets were dropping all around, two Marines made a promise to each other.

Should they survive the battle, they would reach out to each other every New Year’s Day.

For fifty years, Master Sgt. William H. Cox and his friend, First Sgt. James “Hollie” Hollingsworth, kept that promise.

When Hollingsworth passed away earlier this year, Cox kept one last promise for a friendship forged in combat five decades earlier.

When Hollingsworth learned of his terminal illness, Cox paid him a visit and made a promise to deliver the eulogy.

“I said, ‘Boy, that’s a rough mission you’re assigning me to there,'” Cox recalled.

Not only did he complete that mission, but Cox stood guard at his brother’s casket throughout the wake, eschewing a cane that the 83-year-old retired Marine normally uses.

President Trump recently issued a proclamation to honor veterans of the Vietnam War.

“Our veterans are a national treasure, and I thank them all for their service, sacrifice, and patriotism,” Trump said. “To each of you with me today, you are the heroes who fulfill your duty to our nation. And each of you, under the most difficult conditions, did what you had to do, and you did it well.”

Cox fulfilled one last duty bestowed upon him by his friend.

“There’s a bond between Marines that’s different from any other branch of service,” he said. “We’re like brothers.”

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