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Remembering the fallen and lost soldiers

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

Thomasville,  GA (WALB) – Veteran's Day is a day to celebrate men and women in the armed forces. Thousands of troops have lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

We spent time with a Veteran who collects war memorabilia.  Jack Hadley was in the Air Force for 28 years. After retiring back in 1984, he started a black history museum, honoring lost and forgotten soldiers.

Fixing war photos reminds him of his time in the Vietnam war. "I was an Air Force Advisor. I was stationed in Saigon, Vietnam," said Hadley.

The welcome home situation is a lot different now, then when he came home from Vietnam.  "The only people who were glad to see you were your family. Today it's like the whole community celebrates the veterans. Which is great," he said. 

Although racial tension was high in the 50's, Hadley wasn't treated differently until he came back home. "The bus driver said ' You boys go to the back of the bus.' That's when I realized separation in the military still existed," he said. 

The Air Force was another extension of his 14 sisters and brothers he grew up with. "Being in the military was sort of like having a big family," said Hadley. 

While in the military he worked in logistics, and received several promotions. "I worked in supply for 28 years. I received the highest rank which is E9," said Hadley. 

He feels veterans day is so important, it should be celebrated everyday. "We have lost many lives fighting for our freedom. And a lot of people take what we did for granted," said Hadley. 

Soldiers are built from a different cloth. It's about a whole lot more than just money. "You got to have a passion to love that type of life. You have to be ready to sacrifice your life," he said. 

Why is it important to have a museum dedicated to the involvement of African Americans in the wars? "Black history is not a part of the history books. Our kids today need to know what actually happened," said Hadley. 

But through it all, he would not change one thing. "The military life was great. I've been able to use what I learned here in Thomasville," said Hadley. 

In honor of Veteran's Day, Jack Hadley is giving free admission to his museum to all veterans today from 2- 5pm in Thomasville.

 

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