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90-year-old Korea, Vietnam veteran honored in Alabama

By LORA SCRIPPS | The News Courier | Published: June 9, 2020

ATHENS, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — Paul Reeves was all smiles Saturday as about two dozen flag-waving friends, neighbors and family started arriving to his home in Athens.

The group was gathering to celebrate the 90-year-old veteran's birthday.

They weren't the only people set to stop by the home for Reeves' birthday. A parade of people in about 25 cars, trucks and motorcycles also rode by his home waving American flags and carrying signs with messages such as “Happy Birthday” and “Hugs.”

The group of motorists were all part of the nonprofit organization Honored Legacies for Veterans.

Honored Legacies for Veterans was cofounded by former Forever Young Senior Veterans coordinator Chris Batté. The organization's mission is to honor senior veterans and preserve their legacies for future generations.

During the novel coronavirus pandemic, the group has worked to keep veterans from feeling lonely by keeping them safe and engaged.

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Reeves, a Korea and Vietnam veteran, is part of that group. He spent 25 years in the Army Corps of Engineers and served two tours in Korea and two tours in Vietnam.

Reeves said the parade and birthday celebration made him feel great.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.

Reeves knew there was going to be a parade, but he didn't anticipate the amount of people who showed up to celebrate. When Reeves returned home from Vietnam, he said there wasn't a celebration. He recalled being asked not to wear his uniform in public because of the sentiment at the time.

“All of a sudden, we have more and more people saying 'thanks,'” Reeves said. “It made me feel great.”

As Reeves was enjoying the celebration Saturday, a veteran driving a motorcycle at the end of parade, stopped his bike, looked at Reeves and gave him a salute.

Visit honoredlegacies.org to find out more about Honored Legacies for Veterans.

©2020 The News Courier (Athens, Ala.)
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