Albany Vets honored on their day - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Vets honored on their day

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John Burns John Burns
Rether Bryant Rether Bryant
Andrew Pejko Andrew Pejko
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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –  They deserve the utmost respect and honor for serving our country. United States Veterans are being honored in observance of the federal holiday. Thursday morning in Albany hundreds of war heroes came together at two different ceremonies at American Legion Posts 30 and Post 512.

The stories in this room could fill a library. Each person stores a book of war battles and friendships in his memory.

The first page of Andrew Pejko's story begins in 1943 when he served in the army during World War II. 2:00 "I earned the Combat badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart. I just had to do what I had to do," he said. 

Pejko says he still remembers everything vividly, including when a famous American journalist and friend was killed on an island off the coast of Okinawa. "Ernie Pyle, a WWII correspondent was with my commander when he got shot. I was only about 70 yards away and heard the gunfire that killed him."

John Burns, a Korean war veteran, served 20 years in the Air Force and knows what it's like to never forget.  "I can remember everything."

So can Navy vet Rether Bryant who spent three years on the Pacific during World War II. He appreciates Veterans Day ceremonies for the camaraderie. "I like to socialize and I get to see a lot of guys I haven't seen in a very long time. But they'll come out on a day like today."

A day when heroes are honored, stories are shared, and good food is served.

"This means a lot to me," Burns said.

There are nearly 22 million veterans in the United States. Thousands of them in southwest Georgia. So today, take a moment to say thank you.

"It just makes you feel good," said Bryant. Two simple words can go a long way.

World War II veteran Andrew Pejko says times have changed since he served. When he was drafted in the 1940's, soldiers were paid $21 a month. Mr. Pejko later joined the Air Force and was there for the re-opening of Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta.

 

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