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Community Christian School gives him a send-off

Army Veteran Eugene Day shakes the hands of students at Community Christian School Friday afternoon as they gave him a proper send off to the Indy Honor Flight.

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

A smile crept across his face when he pulled into the Community Christian School parking lot. Emotion stirred in his eyes.

Students holding flags, posters and banners met Eugene Day, a Korean War veteran. They extended their hands, thanking Day for his service in the Army.

Day, who was headed to fly the Indy Honor Flight, was surprised the school wanted to give him a proper send-off celebration.

“This an exciting day, you are going to experience more love than you can possibly imagine,” CCS Director Molly Keener said. “The Indy Honor Flight allows us to honor those who are ‘Living History’ in our community. What a great experience for our students and staff to be able to thank them for their service to our country.”

Mayor Harold Gordon presented Day with a key to the city.

“I was supposed to read a proclamation but I changed things up,” he said emotionally. “I want you to have a key to the city. I appreciate your service and you are an incredible man.”

Students Cassie Fitzgerald, Anthony Byers and Lina Hopping read a poem, “The Pride of Our Country.”

Steve Robbins then shared a few words.

“Back in 2004, a group of volunteers wanted to make sure the veterans the memorial honored had the chance to visit it. Now, thousands of veterans get to go to Washington D.C. And visit this tribute. It is an incredible experience,” Robbins said.

“I was told the reason Eugene wanted to join the service was because of his father. Lawrence Day Sr. served in WW I, because of racism, he couldn’t serve with the Americans, he had to serve with Frenchman. His dedication and service kept going, he served in WW I, came home and got married and had 14 children.

“Gene always wants to talk about his brothers, five of the brothers served in the military,” Robbins said. “Gene provided artillery support to the 7th Infantry Division at Pork Chop Hill. His service to his country has been incredible through the years.

“He came home and married Hilda. They have six children together.”

Day spoke for a few minutes to students and others who attended.

“I stand here and am proud to say I served in the service for this country, I want to thank everyone for the appreciation you have shown me, I won’t ever forget this. I’m shaking in my boots. I wasn’t prepared for this, what a surprise, Lord have mercy,” he said.

“It has been real, the experience you go through when you are drafted and travel to countries, you don’t know what these guys have to deal with. You don’t know what they experience. It’s what it is, it is a lot of stress you really don’t know, you really go through it. You have to be there to know what its about, no one can tell you. I am fortunate to have made it back, I lost a lot of friends, I hate that, but that’s war. The Lord kept me here for a reason. I appreciate everyone that was here today.”

Day stated the military will make a man out of you. “I was fortunate to make it home, others were not. God bless them.”