Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

World War II veterans honored

December 15, 2005

Residents at the Eudora Nursing Center honored eight men Dec. 7 for their work and sacrifice during World War II.

The veterans' combined experience spanned across battlefields and bases on different sides of the world.

Although each of the men experienced different aspects of the war, they all received the same honor in commemoration of the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- a medallion and pin emblazoned with the logos of the different branches of military service and symbols of allied victory.

Lawrence Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 852 commander Vern Russell presented the awards.

"It went over real well," Russell said. "A lot of people were real happy we came down to the nursing home and thanked the World War II veterans because they are the greatest generation and sometimes they don't get the accolades they should because time has passed."

Kansas State Representative Barbara Ballard originally obtained the medals from Washington, D.C., for an award ceremony on Veteran's Day at the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University.

Because the nursing home residents couldn't attend the ceremony in Lawrence, Eudora Nursing Center administrator Rheva Victor worked with Lawrence resident Bob Lewis to bring the medals to Eudora.

Victor and Lewis' combined effort culminated in the recognition event, which included the veterans, nursing center residents and the veterans' families.

Photos of the veterans during their service days were on display.

One such picture was of George Mozingo.

Mozingo served in the United States Air Force, and even though he didn't see any action abroad, he said he still enjoyed the ceremony.

"I thought it was real good. I thought they did a real good job," Mozingo said.

Although he said he didn't often celebrate the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, he did celebrate the date the year after the war ended.

"We had a square dance," Mozingo said.

At the time he lived in a small town of about 1,000 people ---- some of whom fought in the war, Mozingo said.

Seeing the pictures and other events surrounding the Pearl Harbor date brought back memories for other veterans in the nursing center.

The memories were especially strong for Kermit Broers.

Broers was in the Army and stationed in Hawaii around the time of the attacks. He said he helped with the aftermath.

"I helped clean all the explosives from the docks, and we put them in caves in the mountains in Hawaii," Broers said.

Broers also said he remembered his time as war raged in the Phillipines.

During that time, he worked with General Douglas MacArthur becoming "his right hand man," Broers said.

The recognition event gave the veterans a chance to relive their past and get a piece of new glory.

"It was real nice, not just getting that second Medal of Honor, but to be recognized," U.S. Navy vet Duane Hayes said.

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