As the National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery comes to a close, veterans and active members in duty remember their military experiences.
By: Beverly Kwakye
Marine Corps veteran James White Jr., bends closely below the Arlington Cemetery graves with his nephew Marine Corps Veteran Sergeant Larry White. The two read the identification numbers behind each tombstone searching for the gravesite of Larry White’s great-grandfather.
He is one of the many veterans who come to pay their respects for their fallen brothers and remember their days in service.
White Jr. says that Veterans Day is about “celebrating the veterans that served. He stated that he cannot pinpoint specific memories because “there’s a whole lot of memories, there’s quite a few of them.” Although he can’t remember detailed memories of his experience overseas, the one aspect he does recall is pulling up to Pearl Harbor.
Having served in the Marine Corps from 1956 to 1959 as Corporal ranked, White Jr. explains how he thinks the respect level for veterans has changed in present day, compared to his years in service. “I don’t think the veterans today are getting treated like the ones in the past.” I think I got treated better than the ones are getting treated now,” White Jr. says.
“I’m here visiting the gravesite of my great grandfather. “I served myself 1984 to 1992.” White said.
White says that his time spent in the Marine Corps: “prepares you for dealing with everyday situations, because one, you definitely come across different people that you have to, not kind of adjust to but just make sure we all get along.”
According to White, his years of service opened his eyes to the world around him. “So it kind of molded me and gave me an experience that showed me there’s more to life than just growing up, going to school, things like that. There are other things that are going on throughout the world that you’re going to have to be a part of.”
Retired Army First Sergeant Arthur Hawkes says, “the main reason why I came was to actually show homage to our fallen soldiers.”
“Veterans Day to me means the opportunity for me to show respect to those who have served and those service members who are currently serving” Hawkes said.