With Veterans Day celebrations taking place throughout town on Saturday, there are very few local residents more involved in veterans affairs and activities than Jim Duncan.
Duncan served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1972 and fought in the Vietnam War. Now back in Jacksonville, he occupies the role of Commander for the Jacksonville AMVETS Post 100.
Featured on WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program Wednesday, Duncan discussed some of the events taking place locally in celebration of tomorrow’s holiday. First, Duncan explains how the various veterans groups organize which of them leads the Veterans’ Day activities.
“I’ve been involved with all of the veterans groups, I belong to the AMVETS, American Legion and VFW. I’m currently the commander of our AMVETS Post 100 and also for our district which goes from the river, over to most of Sangamon County, up north to Peoria and down around Taylorville and Litchfield. The way the different organizations have Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day set up is that the main four, American Legion, VFW, AMVETS and Marine Corp League, we each take a turn, so every two years you get one holiday so to speak. This year, it’s the AMVETS turn to host and be responsible for the Veterans’ Day ceremony here in Jacksonville,”Duncan explains.
He goes into some of the specific events taking place tomorrow, and the veterans’ projects currently being worked on.
“We’ll meet at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Korean Memorial in Community Park. We also have a 5K Fun Run fundraiser to build a new Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial and with the city’s help, we’re going to put it just south of where the Korean Memorial is, kind of between it and the Senior Community Center. After the race, there will be a parade starting at 10 o’clock. It’ll start at Dewey Drive, go down Main Street and then end up back at the Korean Memorial, then services will start at 11 o’clock sharp,” says Duncan.
As for Veterans’ Day itself and what it means to those who’ve served, Duncan says that for him personally, the holiday brings some mixed emotions.
“It’s bittersweet in a lot of ways. For a lot of us, we have lost comrades who didn’t come home with us, Memorial Day is really more that day to remember the fallen, and Veterans’ Day is more of a celebration day, to be thankful for our veterans and what they’ve done and what they’re still continuing to offer to our country. A lot of us like Veterans’ Day because it’s a chance to say thank you to the younger men and women who have come back. There’s some people coming back now that have had some tough go’s, and we’re here to hopefully help them out with that, and this is a good day to say ‘welcome, come on in, you’ve always got a friend here,'” Duncan says.
To hear more about local Veterans’ Day activities and AMVETS Post 100, listen to our full interview with Duncan online at WLDS/WEAI.com.