By Hanna House
Staff reporter

Robert Tatum served in the Army during the Korean War. He appreciates Veterans Day because he believes everyone who serves deserves respect.

Robert Tatum served in the Army during the Korean War. He appreciates Veterans Day because he believes everyone who serves deserves respect. (Kelsey Gresham/Special edition photographer)

To Cpl. Robert Tatum, Veterans Day is a time to look back at all those who fought and give respect to all who have fought for our country no matter what time period. Everyone who fought deserves respect.

Before enlisting, Tatum lived on a farm near Augusta. Leaving behind his mother and grandparents, he enlisted in the Army in 1946 and served until 1952.

“I spent two years down in the Panama Canal Zone then I got out, re-enlisted, and then got caught up in Korea,” said Tatum.

One of Tatum’s memorable experiences during the war involved two North Koreans giving them a visit in the middle of the night.

“While I was sleeping I kept hearing clapping. I unzipped my bag and there were two North Korean soldiers standing over me wanting to surrender. They woke me up to surrender,” said Tatum.

Tatum served a couple of years in the Panama Canal Zone on a ferry boat. While there, he was given Navy equipment and a uniform instead of the more restricting Army attire.

After Tatum was discharged, he worked at Boeing Aircraft Company in Wichita for 30 years and moved to the Kansas Veterans Home nine months ago.

To Tatum, Veterans Day means giving respect to all veterans, even if they served during an unpopular time like during Vietnam.

One of the things that happens to celebrate Veterans Day are Honor Flights. Honor Flights takes veterans to Washington D.C. so they can visit the war memorials. Tatum was one of the veterans who was able to participate in this tradition.

“We went to Washington D.C. for two days to observe the WWII memorial and all the others,” said Tatum.

Like many returning from war, Tatum sometimes wonders why he made it back but so many others did not.

Hanna House is a freshman majoring in communication. You can contact her at hanna.house@sckans.edu.