Dothan, Al. (WTVY) - The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs serves almost 400,000 veterans in the state. About one fifth of them live in the Wiregrass. The faces and families that make up that number is what Dothan celebrated this afternoon at the VFW.
Richard Schoof stands proud and thankful. He tells me he's learned a lot since 1943. That was the year he joined the Army Air Corp to fight in World War Two.
"I think it's so important that all of us understand. We are proud Americans, we should be proud that all people of the world. I don't care whether they're Russians or Japanese or Chinese. We are all human beings, and we all are God's people," said Schoof.
He served in Japan on an island so small he says you could throw a stone across it.
“I was on the invasion of Japan proper," said Schoof.
He tells me he's lucky unlike many soldiers fighting right now.
"I was very, very pleased that I never actually had to fire my gun at a human being," said Schoof.
"Veteran's day means a lot to me," said Quartermaster Edward R. Pritchard.
He saw war in Vietnam and knows what it's like to sacrifice.
"I encourage you to go to a VA Hospital. Go visit those veterans, because a lot can't get out of bed and aren't walking, you know, talk to nurses out there, go in and say hello. You’ll watch them smile," said Pritchard.
"Fidelis Semper Fi means always faithful," said Mike Walton, Marine Veteran.
Walton stays faithful by joining the Marine Corps League. He says everyone should thank veterans because freedom is not free.
"If we went to war or we didn't go to war they put the uniform on, and we signed that contract to give up our life, to protect this country," said Walton.
And meet Jacqueline Faulk Glover who left a husband and three children to fight for our freedom in the Army.
"We are doing the job that we need to do to keep our country free so we have freedom to go and do whatever we want to do, then that's what we need to do so don't stay home and not join because you're afraid that you a woman, and if you can't make it we can make it anything anywhere. Look at the branches now," Said Glover.
The ceremony included Houston County Commissioner and Veteran Doug Sinquefield ,Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba and State Representative Paul Lee.