'Spirit of 45' alive within Nacogdoches World War Two community - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

'Spirit of 45' alive within Nacogdoches World War Two community

The "Spirit of 45" was alive at the USO Show (Source: KTRE Staff) The "Spirit of 45" was alive at the USO Show (Source: KTRE Staff)
Source: KTRE Staff) Source: KTRE Staff)
Mike Butchko, Major General in USAF (Source: KTRE Staff) Mike Butchko, Major General in USAF (Source: KTRE Staff)
Phil Hybener, Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff) Phil Hybener, Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff)
Elmer Boatman, Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff) Elmer Boatman, Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - In 1945, milk cost 62 cents a gallon, and a car cost about a thousand dollars. Times have changed since then, but the one thing that has stayed the same is the pride for our veterans.

On Friday, the Nacogdoches funeral home Cason Monk-Metcalf hosted their fifth “USO Show,” to commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War II.

A vintage flyover entertained the crowd of veterans as they erupted into a loud cheer. However, not every veteran present at the show fought in WWII. Some even fought in Vietnam. But, Mike Butchko, a former major general for the United States Air Force, said the real heroes are the WWII veterans.

“These gentlemen know that they are a national treasure, and I am so honored to put my uniform back on to show my highest respect for them,” Butchko said.

Many veterans present at the show said the war still weighs heavy on their hearts.

“I'm happy that it ended and my heart still remembers the ones who didn't make it, and those are who the real heroes are,” said A.L. Mangham, a former Nacogdoches mayor.

“I made it. I made it home—and that was the main thing,” said Elmer Boatman, who was injured in the war.

But for Ida Vaughan, who worked in the Army Signal Corp as a radio operator, the war, she said, was a little different.

“When D-Day was about to take place, we were quarantined for two days. We were not allowed to send mail, receive mail, or phone anybody or have any visitors. We were completely cut off from the world because the messages we were dealing with were about the upcoming invasion,” Vaughan said.

Despite difficult memories for some veterans, the "USO Show" represented the good times and the "Spirit of 1945." Wise County Bluegrass and the Sweet Adelines provided music for the show and their tunes got a couple veterans tapping their toes. The American Legion, Post 86 was also present.

“I'm a retired army officer and moved up through the ranks, and I'm a big supporter of veterans and so that's why I joined the American Legion and that's why I do this,” said Herman Gibson.

The American Legion provided all the food and refreshments for the show. The Civil Air Patrol and the Patriot Guard Riders were also part of the event.

Even though the war has been over for 69 years, Butchko said, the spirit of 1945 is still alive.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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