Veterans Honored in Macomb

Macomb, IL – The American Flag flew high and the crowd sang loud Wednesday morning at a ceremony in Macomb. For these people, Veterans Day is a time of reflection and gratitude.

Dozens of veterans and supporters attended a brief program at the Macomb VFW. They included those ranging from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The difference in age between them was palpable, and so was their love for the United States.

Iraqi Freedom veteran Jason Kubis served overseas for 16 months. He says there were some scary moments, but he never lost sight of why he was there.

"It's supporting the people. It's supporting, you know, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters," says Kubis. "It's not really necessarily the cause, so even if you can disagree with some part of the cause, there's a whole overview that you're not really seeing. Then there's the little, small things like that that are really important in the end."

Kubis says protecting those close to him was his most important mission overseas.

John Moon was born in 1916 and has lived in Macomb almost his entire life. He says he joined the Marine Corps. shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack. He was eventually sent to Iwo Jima, and lived to tell about it.

"It was terrible," he says. "I could feel bullets going [close] to my face. Not just one, but many, many times. I'm just the luckiest man in the world to be here."

After the battle, he stayed in the military because he believes in what it stands for. He says without the military, America would be quite different.

"I enjoy my freedom, and I think most Americans do," says Moon. "But some of us don't realize what it costs to maintain that freedom. That's just my impression. We'll fight to the death for our freedom."

Moon was indeed as lucky as he thought. In the 36 day Battle of Iwo Jima, nearly 6,000 American Marines lost their lives. More than 21,000 Japanese soldiers were killed. Moon says he knows that, but he'd still be out there fighting for freedom if he were able.

To listen to the full interview with John Moon, click play on the audio link above.