JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The City of Jacksonville recognized service members by putting up posters throughout the Lejeune Memorial Gardens on Thursday.
United States Army veteran Ronald Bower spent his Veterans Day reflecting on his service. Bower is one of the veterans included on the posters. He spent 42 years serving the country. He first signed up in September of 1961.
Bower is now 77. He said he always knew he was going to join the military. The first photo of him in a uniform was at just four months old.
Bower spent about five years active duty in the US Army, joined the National Guard, joined the US Army Reserve, and finished his time at the Pentagon. He said he is spending his Veterans Day reflecting on his service to the country. He says that he doesn’t look at his time spent as service and sees it as a privilege.
Bower said he was spending time at the Vietnam Memorial Thursday because 64 of his high school classmates’ names are on the wall, more than any other high school in the United States, he said.
“It just gives me an opportunity to stop and reflect. I come here and I visit all my friends from high school over here on the Vietnam wall, all 64 of them … That’s really what I look at it as, not so much service, but a privilege,” said Bower.
Bower said he looks forward to speaking with others about the memorials and their time serving the country.
The Rose Family spent their Veterans Day in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, showing their appreciation to those who served.
They spent five hours baking homemade cookies to hand out to military veterans today. In total, they baked 250 cookies. Daniel Rose is not a veteran himself but has multiple family members and friends who have served.
He said they want to thank all veterans for their service and to know that they are not forgotten. He also said that he knows how underappreciated Vietnam veterans were when they first returned home, and they want to show them that they are valued.
The family stayed at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens for the majority of the day handing them out. However, many cookies were leftover Thursday afternoon. The family was giving them to all the gate guards at Camp Lejeune to hand out as active-duty members come into the base.
“We appreciate you, we value you, and you hear so many things about Vietnam veterans and how underappreciated they were, and to get out there and say, we remember you, you know, that means a lot, especially to them. And let them know that they are not forgotten,” said Daniel Rose.
Daniel said that he wants all active duty service members to feel appreciated because one day they will be veterans too.