Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Memorial Day to most people is a good day to be off work, grill out and relax. Beyond that, few people seem to know much about what the holiday commemorates.
World War II and Korean War veteran Kenneth Walker of Lafayette Springs says it well.
“Veterans Day is in honor and celebration of any veterans,” says Walker. “Memorial Day is more for the memorial service of the people who lost everything in one or the other conflicts.”
Walker was in the Army during World War II and in the Navy during the Korean War, as well as the years that followed. At age 87, he still active enough to enjoy riding his motorcycle around.
Walker plans to be with family on Memorial Day and reflect on those that never came back to see their families again. He says that he remembers a pilot that crashed nearly 50 yards away from him, killing him instantly.
“That almost made a little 18-year-old boy, first time away from home, want to go home, said Walker.
With 2013 marking the 10-year anniversary of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Memorial Day will honor more than the grey-haired gentlemen in our local VFWs and American Legion Posts. Many of the service members who went overseas ten years ago came back combat veterans while still in their early 20s.
Others didn’t come back at all.
Army veteran Jonathan Kiddy, 27, of Oxford says he didn’t even think of himself as a veteran until someone came up and thanked him one Veteran’s Day. He says that Memorial Day serves as a day to remember why we have the freedoms we have.
“While veterans think mainly of those they knew and lost, those outside of the armed services should reflect on what they have because of brave men and women who never came back from the fight,” says Kiddy.
Around Oxford, anyone can go to the Veterans Memorial Park on Veteran’s Drive. It serves as a good place to remember the men and women who died protecting our freedoms on May 27 or any other time.
World War II and Korean War veteran Kenneth Walker of Lafayette Springs talks about the meaning of Memorial Day’s vs. Veterans Day.