Residents of Buffalo Creek Assisted Living Center on Brown Street held their annual balloon release in honor of those who have died serving the country.
Personnel from Buffalo Creek provided dozens of red, white and blue balloons, and assisted the residents as they gathered on the terrace for a balloon release at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 25.
The event was meaningful for the senior citizens, but none more than the 11 World War II veterans who live at Buffalo Creek.
North Dakota native Helen Smith, who held rank as an ensign in the Navy, served as a nurse. She was on active duty for one year and was married to B.C. Smith, who was in the Marines.
“I not only was married to a Marine, but I raised three Marines,” Smith said. “I loved being in the Navy and, if I possibly could, I’d go back in tomorrow. I signed up to stay in, but when I met B.C. that all changed.”
But Smith remembers a different time when her generation, dubbed by American television journalist Tom Brokaw in his best selling book, “The Greatest Generation,” fought in World War II.
“Our country is different from when it was back in those days – back then, there was more trust in people – they weren’t afraid help people in need and to lend money to someone if necessary – and servicemen could hitchhike across the country without fear. It’s a different world today,” Smith said.
Glenn Berlin served as a Navy yeoman (clerk-typist) when she was in the WAVES, (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and served four years on active duty.
“I joined the service where I was raised, in the mountains of West Virginia, and I attended boot camp at Stillwater, Okla.,” she said, saying she spent the remainder of her service stationed in San Diego, Calif.
“I was and am proud to be an American – there’s no other country like it,” she said. “And if I had it to do over, I’d join the WAVES tomorrow.”
Gainesville, Texas, native and U.S. Army veteran Imogene Green was a photographer while on active duty and noted she was stationed at Love Field for the duration of her active duty.
According to a history of Memorial Day, the special day was officially proclaimed May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
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