Honoring military veterans every November is a tradition celebrated with much fanfare at senior living centers.
Members of Parker-based VFW Post 4266 helped mark Veterans Day at Fort Logan National Cemetery, but took the time to stop by Life Care Center of Stonegate and Lincoln Meadows Senior Living, where young schoolchildren had the chance to sing songs and deliver notes of appreciation to the resident veterans.
At Life Care Center of Stonegate, each of the 18 veterans were recognized with applause, as were the seven employees who have served. Recreation director Michelle Sayre also asked each to state which branch they served in and when. Some were veterans of the Vietnam War, but the majority served in WWII and are in their 90s, including Hilbert Schauer, who served with the Army from 1942 to 1946 and was among the officers to oversee the integration of black soldiers into traditional roles.
“It was quite an experience,” he recalled. Schauer later attended law school and became a Colorado Supreme Court Justice.
Another resident, Donald W. Jones, flew 29 missions as a B-17 flight engineer and crash landed twice. He flew dangerous missions over Berlin, and once stood precariously on the edge of oblivion when he had to crank open the bomb bay doors by hand. He kept a diary throughout his WWII service that he later gave to Buckley Air Force Base to enter into historical records.
Sayre, along with VFW Post Commander David Eyre, encouraged the aging veterans to pass their stories on to loved ones before it’s too late. Jones is among those who only recently started talking about his service, said his daughter, Lou Jones McCoy.