GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As Army veteran Hugh Powers Jr. stood during a Veterans Day ceremony’s moment of silence, he can’t help but be happy.
“Just being glad to be there,” he said.
It wasn’t always smooth for veterans like Powers.
He served in three wars, starting when he was 14-years-old as a Merchant Marine during World War II.
“I wanted to be in the go right now; in the fighting,” he said.
At 18-years-old, he joined the Army and spent the next 20 years there including serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Some of his vivid memories are from returning home from war.
“From the Korean War to the Vietnam War, you walked down the street and people would spit on you,” he said.
He said that changed after the Iraq War with people respecting veterans like him.
“It’s back to what it used to be which i’m proud of,” he said.
Fellow disabled veterans like Willie Stack meet together once a month.
He said they’re proud of Powers.
“You can’t imagine how Mr. Hugh looks forward to the second Tuesday of every month,” Stack said. “He’s the first one there.”