Veterans worry meaning of Memorial Day forgotten -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Veterans worry meaning of Memorial Day forgotten

May 26, 2003

Albany -- Memorial Day is a National Holiday, to remember soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve freedom in America. But as South Georgia veterans attend Memorial Day programs, they worry that younger Americans don't take time to remember past heroes.

 Even with so many service men and women still overseas in the Middle East, veterans say Memorial Day has lost it's meaning.

Flags fly at half staff at Albany American Legion's Post 512's headquarters. About 60 veterans and family members listen to songs to remember lost colleagues. A wreath is laid during Post 512's memorial day tribute breakfast. The names of post members who have died in the past year are read, a rose placed for each lost comrade.

These veterans remember those who served and died for liberty on Memorial Day, but worry that most Americans don't. "And when I think about this day, it brings back those memories. I think about the families and the things they could have shared in if they had not been serving."

79 year old Andrew Wiggins was one of the first Black Marines in World War Two. He earned a Bronze star during the Korean War. "Many people don't realize the sacrifices and problematic situations we went through during the war."

Prisoners of war and Missing in Action soldiers were also remembered in this Memorial Day celebration. Lloyd Wentworth was held prisoner in Korea for nearly 2 years. He thinks more needs to be done in Albany. Wentworth said "I don't think they have been taught history. There is very little history. For instance, the Korean War is not even taught in the schools."

Even with patriotism on high after the War in Iraq, these Veterans think Memorial Day is just another day off. Wiggins said " We need to concentrate and set examples for our young people. They are the ones that are going in the country when we are gone."

Albany Post 512 still has 7 living members who are World War Two veterans. They have 23 veterans from the Korean War, and 300 from Vietnam.

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