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Peterborough

Saying thanks

Residents of Peterborough nursing home recall days in service of their countries

  • Pheasant Wood Nursing Home in Peterborough honored those who have served in the military on Monday morning.
  • Pheasant Wood Nursing Home in Peterborough honored those who have served in the military on Monday morning.
  • Pheasant Wood Nursing Home in Peterborough honored those who have served in the military on Monday morning.
  • Pheasant Wood Nursing Home in Peterborough honored those who have served in the military on Monday morning.
  • Pheasant Wood Nursing Home in Peterborough honored those who have served in the military on Monday morning.

At Pheasant Wood nursing home in Peterborough, the tables are pushed back in the dining room to make room for residents who have come to pay their respects to their nation’s veterans. Especially those that sit among them — all 22 of them.

The residents gather in a quiet ceremony — a few patriotic songs, some prayers for veterans, and the individual thanking of all the veterans who live at Pheasant Wood. A reading of their names, handshakes, and the presentation of their country’s flag. There are 20 American flags and two British ones for those who live at Pheasant Wood who fought among the Allied forces.

Dick Loudon of the Peterborough Cheney-Armstrong Post 5 American Legion visited Pheasant Wood on Monday, to talk about his own experiences as a cargo transporter during the final phase of Vietnam, transporting human remains and war-weary soldiers back home, and taking sympathizers out of the country to safer shores.

Veterans Day is an opportunity to make sure those that have served their country know they are appreciated, Loudon said. “The easiest way is simply to say, ‘Thank you for what you have done for our country.’”

Ernie Robinson, a resident of Pheasant Wood, received a flag for his service in the Marine Corps. He was drafted during the Korean War, he said, but never saw conflict.

“I saw a lot of men and boys come back from the war. They said I was lucky to have never gone,” he recalled in an interview following Pheasant Wood’s ceremony Monday morning. “It seems like everyone wants to forget what they had to do during war. But it was a job someone had to do so that everyone could come home and live in freedom and peace.”

Henry Ward, another resident recognized in the ceremony for his service in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II, agreed with that sentiment.

“I served with my fellows, and we had experiences you wouldn’t want to duplicate,” Ward said. “It’s not a holiday. Even though it turned out well most of the time, at the time we weren’t unafraid. There were times that there was gunfire all around. We went into some jungle areas, expecting the enemy to jump out at us at anytime. It seems a lifetime away. Sometimes it seems like we’re making it up. But it was a difficult time for us and our relatives. I hope it never happens again.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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