We Lost a True American Hero This Last Weekend
America lost one of its greatest living heroes this past weekend. Renn Bodeker, a 92-year-old World War II veteran passed away early Sunday morning. I had the honor and privilege of meeting Renn last year at Bundy Ranch. As luck would have it, I was embedded with Stewart Rhodes as alternative media, and drove down to the ranch and back again with Renn. Even though I only got to spend a couple of weeks with him, he had a tremendous impact upon me. In his 90’s, his age never slowed him down in the slightest. Through out the stand-off, Renn was always right there, on the front lines with his younger fellow patriots.
I remember when Ren related to me what inspired him to take action again so late in life, we as a country, had become too complacent. When we sat back and watched as our own government killed women and children at Ruby Ridge and again at Waco, he felt that the people’s lack of action emboldened the government to further overreach. It was this idea that was his second call to arms. Renn decided the best way to to stop this rampant abuse was to stand up, get off the couch, and go tell the Powers That Be, eye to eye, that we will not stand idly by any longer as our rights are further eroded.
During World War II, Renn, was the very definition of a “war hero.” At the age of 19, he enlisted and served in Co. B, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (11th Airborne Division.) During his three combat jumps he earned 2 bronze stars. On one of those jumps, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, 40 kilometers behind enemy lines, he helped to rescue over 2,000 men, women, and children who were scheduled to be brutally slaughtered later that day. Renn had told me, at Bundy Ranch, about a young man that has approached him, out of the blue, and thanked him for saving his grandfather’s life in World War II. This young man stated that if it were not for Renn’s heroic actions that early morning at the Los Banos Internment Camp, that he would not be alive today. Please see the video below to see Renn speaking about this event in his own words.
Even after giving so much for the cause of freedom in his earlier life, Renn, like so many other veterans, found himself fighting for his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. This time, the danger did not come from a foreign enemy, but from his own local government. In 2012 Renn had just lost his wife after a decade long battle with cancer, and like so many other Americans these days, he faced a mountain of medical debt. During bankruptcy proceedings Renn, himself, became sick with cancer. While in the hospital, he learned that he was not only going to be forced off his land, but also faced the possibility of having to exhume his beloved wife, and learned that he may not be able to be buried next to her at the home they had literally built together. This was his greatest wish, to be buried there next to his true love.
Please watch this video to see just how brutally he was treated in this bankruptcy.
I am truly honored to have helped insure that Renn got his final wish.
As the sun set this last Sunday a small contingent of Oath Keepers, close friends, and family came together at Renn’s home on Liberty Lane, in western Montana. We gathered to remember the actions and words of a true patriot, a true American, and a true hero. It was a small but powerfully touching service. We began with singing of the Star Spangled Banner and a favorite hymn. We prayed together and shared some of our fondest memories. We then carried Renn’s casket out to his final resting place in front of his family home. The playing of Taps was followed by a 21 gun salute and the flag was presented to his closest friends as we helped one of our own fulfill his dying wish. We buried him next to his beloved wife.
What will happen to his house and grave is still up in the air, but the Oath Keepers will stand vigilant to help carry on his fight.
Jason Van Tatenhove