“I did what my country asked me to do”

Categories: The Volunteer Perspective

On Veterans Day, we honor all those who have served our country so willingly and fearlessly. This post originally appeared Aug 9, 2018.

Master Sergeant John Y., United States Marine Corps veteran was honored on July 15, 2018, with a “We Honor Veterans” ceremony held at the American Legion Post 116 in Fuquay-Varina.

Paul Mountain, a veteran volunteer for Transitions LifeCare, shared recognition and thanks to John and all who gathered to honor him for the veteran ceremony. Jeff Hicks, post commander of the Garner American Legion Post 232 and also a veteran volunteer for Transitions LifeCare explained the “missing man table,” which includes symbols specific to POWs and is included in most if not all American Legion ceremonies:

  • The white cloth represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.
  • The empty chair depicts the unknown face representing all those who are not here with us.
  • The single red rose reminds us of the families of their loved ones.
  • The ribbon represents our determination to account for them.
  • The candle and its ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion.
  • A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate.
  • The salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families.
  • The inverted glass reminds us our comrades cannot join us in a toast.

John served 22 years in the Marine Corps, on the USS Des Moines, in the military police, and as a meteorologist. He served two tours in Vietnam and served in Korea and Okinawa.

Paul presented John with a certificate of recognition and service and an American flag pin. John, wearing his green service uniform, stood to share his thanks and love to all in the room. “I did what my country asked me to do.”

Following the playing of the Marines’ Hymn, John’s wife Cinda thanked everyone in attendance and noted that John’s heart “explodes with love.”

veteran, veteran volunteer, volunteer, we honor veterans
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