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Veterans and soldiers gather at Veterans Day luncheon in Evans.

Posted: November 12, 2012 - 12:50pm  |  Updated: November 14, 2012 - 12:01am
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Staff Sgt. Gary Reathaford talks with Ellen Keener, who served in the WAACS in France and England during Worl War II, at the Morningside of Evans Veterans Day Luncheon.
Staff Sgt. Gary Reathaford talks with Ellen Keener, who served in the WAACS in France and England during Worl War II, at the Morningside of Evans Veterans Day Luncheon.

The gathering at the Morningside of Evans Assisted Living Retirement Community of those who have served and sacrificed turned out to be a mutual admiration society.

Monday, active duty personnel from Fort Gordon stopped by Morningside to have lunch and celebrate Veterans Day with those who served before them. The facility, currently home to 11 veterans of World War II, invited the soldiers to eat, talk and, most of all, listen.

“I consider this a privilege,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Orr. “I mean, look at the wars they fought. Look at the contributions they have made. I served in Korea and two tours in Iraq toward the end of the war. But I was never shot at. When I look at these people and the things they have done, well, it just doesn’t compare.”

There is a reproduction of a Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps recruiting poster hanging in Ellen M. Keener’s small Morningside apartment. She becomes sentimental when talking about her time in the WAACs, first in England with the 8th Air Force and later with the Chief American Chaplain in France. She said she appreciated when Veterans Day is celebrated because of the men and women who served in unpopular wars.

“I’m 93 years old and we’ve seen a lot of Veterans Days where people, people who served in Vietnam for instance, went unacknowledged,” she said. “Sometimes it just feels like a Monday.”

Still, it is her stories, such as those about zig-zagging across the Atlantic to avoid U-boat attacks, of seeing German airplanes fly over her head in England and intentionally stepping on a rude soldier’s feet during a dance that kept the men and women from Fort Gordon enthralled and entertained.

“They just did so much,” Orr said.

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