Ashland veterans remember

The bugle call of "Taps" will be heard this Monday in Mountain View Cemetery as Ashland war veterans honor their fellow service men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Ted Sockman, an Ashlander who served in Korea in 1951 and '52 said this is one of the primary differences between Veterans Day, celebrated in November, and Memorial Day, which is celebrated on Monday.

"Veteran's Day we honor all the people who served our country in time of war," he said. "Memorial Day is a little different. It concentrates on the people who lost their lives in defense of our country."

He called it "a remembrance of all those who sacrificed their lives to make it possible for us to live in a free country."

Sockman and many others &

both veterans and civilians &

will take part in Ashland's annual Memorial Day commemoration on Monday, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the cemetery on East Main Street near Highway 66.

Sockman is the Commander of the Ashland branch of the American Legion, an organization of U.S. war veterans that acts as a charitable organization. The events on Monday are being put on by the Ashland chapters of the Guy T. Applewhite Post 14 American Legion and the Grizzly Post 353 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"We all have something we mutually experienced," Sockman said. "Only it was in different wars."

Monday's events include music by the Southern Oregon Concert Band and placing wreaths on the grave sites of those who died in service of the country.

One local war veteran who won't be in attendance this year is Mayor John Morrison, who was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1965 and served a 366-day tour of duty. While Morrison has given the keynote address at this event the last few years, he decided to celebrate the holiday differently this year.

"A friend from Washington is coming down and we're going for a motorcycle ride," he said.

Although he won't be taking part in the commemoration, Morrison said he will take time to remember his military brethren who lost their lives fighting for their country.

"It always leads me to wonder whether it was worth it," he said. Some wars, he thinks were, such as World War II. About the war he served in, he isn't sure the nation came out of it with a "satisfactory conclusion."

He added, "That makes me think of Iraq. It seems we haven't learned the lessons of history very well. There are some parallels between Vietnam and Iraq."

Joe French is a "so-called veteran of the cold war," he said. He didn't actually go to battle but, he said, he "very definitely" celebrates Memorial Day with the military in mind.

"I'll be going to the service," he said. "It's a time to honor the people who died for the country."

Bill Snell, a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, said the most emotional moment of Memorial Day is the playing of "Taps."

"It gives me such an awesome feeling, thinking of the men and women who gave their lives for their country," he said, noting that he tends to think more about his Vietnam experiences, saying, "I had more friends who didn't come back from that one."

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x. 226 or .

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