On this Memorial Day weekend, we take time to celebrate our freedom and remember the sacrifices others made to make it possible. In Longview, Saturday dozens of World War II and Korean War Veterans were recognized for their service.
They are the aging faces of those who have fought for freedom in wars past, and Saturday Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion members presented more than 40 certificates of recognition to residents of Eastman Estates Assisted Living Center.
"I'm glad that people haven't forgot, you haven't forgot what sacrifices were made," said WWII Navy veteran John Vannatta, 83.
"So many years later, and its a crying shame we need to tell them thank you, and that's why we do what we do," said American Legion Post 131 Commanding Officer Eric Cook. "I wouldn't have anything that I have, or be where I'm at today without the sacrifice that they made." They fought in far away places like Iwo Jima the Ardennes, and the 38th parallel. Garland Ellis, 84 was a photographer for Patton's army in the Battle of The Bulge.
"Well, I'm not no hero, and I don't, there's so many men that I was praying for that have died recklessly," said Ellis. The wives of deceased veterans were also honored for their sacrifices at home during the war years.
"We didn't mind what we had to give up for our boys, didn't bother us a bit," said Vannatta's wife, Jeri. They fought the most monumental battle of the last century, and they asked no reward.
"They're in old bodies, they've been on the planet eight decades, but when you look in their eyes and they start talking about their experience, you're talking to that 18-year-old infantryman," said Cook. "They go back there just like it was yesterday, and that's the person I want to reach, the person I want to get to, that's who I'm saying that you to."
Today was very memorable for one couple at Eastman Estates. John and Jeri Vannatta are also celebrating their 55th Wedding Anniversary.