Standing Guard

9 years 8 months 1 week ago November 12, 2007 Nov 12, 2007 Monday, November 12 2007 Monday, November 12, 2007 2:50:12 AM CST in News

On Sunday, ROTC cadets hosted a service at the Boone County Courthouse, complete with a parade and "Taps."

In remembering soldiers past and present, all too often we turn to the pageantry and pomp of planned Veterans Day celebrations. But look behind the front lines and you'll see a less prominent way of saying thanks.

Standing guard with discipline and precision, Eugene McGee guards the names that never made it home and remembers, because it could have been him.

"We started out 210 men in our company and when the war was over there was seven of us left," said McGee, a World War II veteran.

McGee was one of seven that emerged unscathed.

"I was in the Battle of the Bulge, and I spent 154 days in combat," McGee said.

Veterans like him know what a close call is like and years later he wonders why he got out.

"I don't know why it was me, why some of them went and I made it," McGee said. "I came back alive."

McGee will never forget the past, as he too watches over the guarded names, that could have included his own.

"Honor the ones that didn't make it," he said.

This was the 22nd year the ROTC has put on a Veterans Day memorial.

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