Honoring our finest: Veteran stories, war artifacts a reminder of sacrifices

coverVeterans Day is a time set aside each year to honor the people who have put their lives on the line to protect the freedom of others. Each veteran, whether they served in World War II or Iraq, have a different story to tell. This year, a female veteran and one Cherokee tribal elder share their experiences of serving in WWII while leaders of veteran organizations discuss the challenges of staying relevant to younger generations of service men and women. 

Veterans’ groups struggle for relevancy with younger generation of servicemen

fr veteransWhen Bobby Rathbone came home from Vietnam over 40 years ago, joining a veterans group was the last thing on his mind. Drafted into war, fighting in Vietnam was hardly something to celebrate or wear on his sleeve.

Military icons in our midst

fr biggunThree military relics on display in the mountains honor the nation’s long and fabled history of duty and service to country.

‘Beloved’ Cherokee storyteller shares WWII experiences

fr wolfeJerry Wolfe is a storyteller. Whether he’s telling a story of his people at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian or retelling his years spent in the U.S. Navy, the 91-year-old remembers every detail.

More than just a flag: A female WWII vet reflects on the war and its impact on her family

fr mashburnWhen 91-year-old Gertrude Mashburn tells strangers she’s a World War II veteran — a topic she usually brings up early in a conversation — she’s often met with skepticism. 

World War II monument rededicated in Webster

fr monumentWebster will hold the biggest Veterans Day celebration it’s had for 64 years when it rededicates the World War II monument that Webster High School students erected in 1951 to honor their fallen classmates.

Healing in the waters: Disabled vets find comfort, camaraderie in fly fishing

out frOut of Ed Norris’ 68 years of life, Vietnam accounts for just one. Those months he spent deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps are now almost half a century distant, but Norris’s time in the service changed his life forever, the emotional and physical evidence still apparent. 

“There were times when I worked at a job I wore a suit, and walking down the street a truck backfired,” he said. “I hit the deck. I turned around and had to go home and change clothes because I messed up my suit.”

Franklin outdoors camp helps military kids heal from loss

coverIt was an intense few days for Virginia Beach, Virginia, resident Seth. Eight miles of hiking, 4.5 of those bushwhacking, all with an overnight pack on his back. A couple of hours of rock climbing. Three more miles of hiking. And that was just day one.  

Before the week was out, he’d log 6 more miles of hiking, 5 of canoeing and hours more of survival skill classes and drills. An impressive feat for most people, and Seth is only 14.

Our veterans deserve to be honored all year

op veteransIt is just a beautiful day, this Memorial Day. I am able to get a little work done in the morning, and then sneak off to the fitness center for a quick workout and a run around Lake Junaluska while Tammy makes a project of the pantry, which has over the past couple of years become “overstuffed” and is about as organized as a cat parade. The kids are now old enough to help us put away the groceries, and they have embraced this new stage of responsibility by developing a truly impressive talent to put things in completely random places. Why shouldn’t a can of beans be flanked on the shelf by a jar of Maraschino cherries and a dozen eggs?

Benefit concert aids WNC veterans

fr veteransbenefitIt’s been two years since Bruce Yarrington and his Knights of Columbus buddies started volunteering at the Veterans Restoration Quarters in Asheville. Twice a month the crew makes the trip from Waynesville to cook for the veterans at the center.

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