Veterans Speak Up About Memorial Holiday

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Payson veterans Ken Duckworth and Don Kitchen (center) and their wives, Sharon (left) and Berla (right).

For Korean War veteran Don Kitchen, bringing home his dead comrades was a grim duty of war.

"I was in the Air Force. We were flying back and forth to Korea, and many times on the return flights our cargo was body bags," Kitchen said.

On this Memorial Day weekend, Kitchen and area veterans hope Rim country residents will take time to remember and respect our country's fallen soldiers.

"Don't forget the guys that didn't come back," Kitchen said. "That's what Memorial Day is all about -- I mean, we were lucky. We came back."

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John Ketchem, veteran, U.S. Army.

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Jack Waer, U.S. Army veteran

We offer these thoughts from other local veterans:

"Support our military troops overseas and welcome them home. It's more than we got," said Jack Waer, U.S. Army veteran.

"Try -- really try -- to comprehend the sacrifices our armed forces have made: dying, the wounds, being far away from their families, and then realize why our way of life is the way it is because of those sacrifices. The sacrifices don't stop with the military personnel -- they are made by their families and friends as well. I really wish the politicians had served or knew someone who served to appreciate the sacrifices before they commit us to action," said John Ketchem, veteran, U.S. Army.

"I'd like people to remember those veterans who lost their lives and show our soldiers respect. I think Vietnam was one of the worst. They didn't get the respect they should," said Jerry Laird, U.S. Air Force veteran.

"I'd like everyone to honor and pray for our military personnel fighting in Iraq," said Walt Gregory, U.S. Air Force veteran.

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Walt Gregory, U.S. Air Force veteran

"I appreciate the guys overseas now, and the guys who have already been overseas to Vietnam, Korea, and in (Europe) during World War II. They need to be remembered and respected just as much as the soldiers overseas now. As veterans, we know what they are going through," said Ken Duckworth, U.S. Army veteran.

"I'm just proud to be an American" said Jim Russell, U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

Payson veterans and volunteers have organized several public memorial events this holiday weekend.

See story ‘Payson Remembers' for Memorial Day

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