Local veterans stress holiday’s importance

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2005

Just out of high school in 1942, Drew Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army.

The guys back then were very patriot, he said, and most were more than willing to serve the country.

“When our nation was attacked in December 1941, every red-blooded American boy wanted to do something,” he said.

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During his years in the service, Johnson was stationed in the Philippines and Japan, serving as first lieutenant in the 108th 2nd Infantry Division.

Johnson said he was lucky to have never seen battle. Most of his days were spent practicing maneuvers and mock battles.

“I read the news of Hiroshima to my troops,” Johnson said.

“Had we not dropped the bomb on Hiroshima…,” he paused, “That saved my life.”

Johnson, a 48-year resident of Demopolis, asks the American people to stop and reflect this Veterans Day. He is just one of the many veterans who live in Demopolis and its surrounding cities, and one of the many veterans who will be honored this Veterans Day.

Having served four years in the U.S. Army, Johnson understands the importance of honoring those who have served and currently serve in the military.

“Whenever I see a soldier or Marine today, I thank them for serving,” Johnson said. “It’s a privilege to serve our country.”

While there was only one celebration for Veterans Day in Demopolis this year, Tom Boggs, an Army Special Forces veteran who served for 36 years, encourages everyone to look at this holiday as a time of thanksgiving.

“We have got to take a moment to realize what these holidays mean,” Boggs said. “Veterans should be acknowledged, appreciated and supported every day.”

While Boggs served as a colonel in the active duty military for many years without seeing battle, he understands the necessity of war and the sacrifice the military makes during wartime.

“It’s easy to say ‘it doesn’t affect me much,’ but think about how it would affect you if those people weren’t in the service,” Boggs said.

“It takes the whole country to protect the freedoms of this country,” he said. “There has got to be a price paid, even though some people pay a bigger price than others.”