SARANAC LAKE —
When the Joyeuse family was told their loved one couldn’t be interred at Arlington, they contacted O’Donnell, who appealed to Petraeus.
At the same time, Saranac Lake’s mayor reached out to Secretary of the Army McHugh, a former North Country congressman.
Rabideau first met the Joyeuses when he went to fix their roof.
“I knock on the front door, I say hello,” Rabideau recalled. “There’s this fellow sitting on the couch, his hands on a cane. He responds in French, so I talked to him in French.”
Learning more about the quiet neighbor, Rabideau said he was astonished to find such a decorated war hero and renowned surgeon living here.
“They have two sons, both in their forties now, Marc-Jerome and Remi-Pascal. They all lived in Saranac Lake. Remi went to high school here and, believe it or not, in the late ‘80s he won the Pond Skimming title at Whiteface,” Rabideau said.
Troubled that a notable veteran was denied final rites at Arlington, Rabideau wrote to McHugh in July.
“The letter we received back from McHugh said the technical reason for denied burial is he was not a U.S. citizen when he wore the American uniform.”
Two weeks after Joyeuse’s death, O’Donnell had emailed Petraeus, describing the family’s quest and the veteran’s achievements.
And on July 20, Petraeus wrote a letter to McHugh, highlighting Joyeuse’s accomplishments and supporting his family’s request for a review of Arlington’s decision.
At the bottom of the letter, a copy of which was shared with The Associated Press, Petraeus wrote: “The situation seems very unique and the rationale quite exceptional. It would mean a great deal to the agency family and its forerunner, the OSS. Many thanks — Dave.”
On Nov. 9, a letter from the executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries to Mrs. Joyeuse notified her that the family’s request for burial at Arlington had been approved.