Monday, June 29, 2009

Old soldiers take care of their own, keeping watch on VA cemetery

My hats off the these Vets. Still serving their borthers.

By Kevin Reece / 11 News

HOUSTON—Houston National Cemetery on Veterans Memorial Drive is under the watchful eye of several old soldiers and sailors. Korean War Veterans say their second tour of duty has been well worth it.

“And the more I’m out here the more I see what needs to be done,” said Travis Riley, 84, a Navy veteran of both the Korean War and World War II. “ And I’m glad to be out here to help.”

A year ago the Texas Lone Star Chapter of Korean War Veterans answered the call for help after the cemetery was targeted by thieves.

Even on hallowed ground like this, thieves would often rob cars of wallets and purses while widows and survivors visited tombstones and graves.

“Four letters,” said Army Korean War Veteran Jim Duncan when asked to describe the criminals. “Scum. S-C-U-M. That’s the way I feel about it.”

So to fight that “scum” a team of 16 Korean War Veterans, some well into their 80s, keep watch at the cemetery each weekend.

They greet each driver at the cemetery entrance reminding visitors to lock their cars and secure their valuables. They also patrol the cemetery grounds to remind would-be thieves that someone is always watching.

“Nothing really bad has happened in the year that we’ve been here,” said Tom Campion, 79. “So I feel like we have accomplished something.”

“We’re not cocky. And we’re going to assume that something’s going to happen every weekend. But we’re doing our best to prevent it, “said Duncan.”

“I think they’re wonderful they’re doing a great job. I really do,” said visitor Mary Wagner.

They are, after all, still soldiers and still on guard.

“You bet,” added Duncan, “You bet and proud of it.”

“We’re still here,” said Riley, explaining why they volunteer to assist fellow veterans and their families.

They are still here and with a job to do: Keeping watch for the bad guys….again.

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