On July 2, 2021, the ashes of Harold and Bette Burson were inurned in a private family ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Harold Burson was accorded a standard honor funeral by members of the Old Guard.
Harold enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 and became part of an engineer combat group in Europe. In 1945, he was transferred to the news staff of the American Forces Network a month before the war ended in Europe.
Later in 1945, he was assigned to report on the Nuremberg Trial and was the only reporter to obtain an interview during the trial with Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson, the chief American prosecutor. Although Justice Jackson had vowed not to grant interviews, Harold argued that his audience, the American GIs who fought the war, were entitled to hear firsthand from the chief American prosecutor. Only 24-years-old when the Nuremberg Trial began, Burson was believed to have been the last living reporter who covered the historic trial.
Following his discharge from the Army in 1946, Burson opened Harold Burson Public Relations in New York. By 1983, Burson-Marsteller (as it was known by then) had become the largest PR firm in the world.
In his later years, Harold continued his service to the country. He was a Presidential appointee to the Commission of Fine Arts in Washington and was a member during the deliberations that led to building the Vietnam War Memorial and the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1980s. He also chaired the Public Relations Advisory Committee of the U.S. Information Agency during the second Reagan administration and under President George H.W. Bush.
He also was a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of the American Revolution, which is the first museum that relates the entire history of the American Revolution, and he was a member of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s Advisory Committee.
Those wishing to pay their respects to Harold and Bette Burson can visit the Arlington National Cemetery website and search for Harold and Bette’s names. The cemetery’s app, ANC Explorer, can also be used to locate their niche at the Columbarium. Their information should be on those sites by early October 2021.