Visitors honor Memorial Day at Savannah’s World War II Memorial

Monday, I’ll track starting temperatures to be in the mid to lower-70s for most, while highs depend on where we see rain after noon.
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 3:30 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This Memorial Day weekend, dozens of people passed through the World War II Memorial on River Street in downtown Savannah.

That includes Joseph James, a 30-year veteran of the Marine Corps. He says he served tours in Afghanistan, Grenada, and Korea to name a few.

He made it home from service, but some of his brothers in arms, did not.

“You don’t have an answer for it. I mean, why did some of us make it home and others didn’t? It’s not something you can do mathematically or whatever. Maybe you were lucky, maybe you weren’t in harms way at the time or whatever. I don’t know. Why did you get picked not to come home or why did you get picked to come home? I don’t have an answer for it,” said Joseph James, a veteran of the Marine Corps.

Though the question lingers, James says he takes Memorial Day weekend to reflect on his friends who lost their lives while serving, remembering not just how they died, but how they lived.

“To be able to think back fondly on those folks, it’s the difference between- I’m sorry that a lot of them are gone, but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to meet them to begin with. So that’s what you try to keep in your mind,” said James.

Justin Wilson is not a veteran himself. He says he couldn’t serve because he almost lost a hand at one point.

His two brothers, however, did serve- and he says he and his family lived in fear that they might not make it home.

“My brother was actually stationed over in Afghanistan at the time, and I was right up the sidewalk, and I saw the two uniforms, and my body just dropped because I thought it was going to be that,” said Justin Wilson, visiting from Fort Worth, Texas.

Wilson says the two officers weren’t there to give a death notification, but he says his heart goes out to those who did receive word they lost a loved one in the military- knowing that feeling of fear, he says, very well.

That, for him- is the real meaning of Memorial Day: honoring everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice and remembering what it is they fought for.

“What it means to me is the true pride that we have for our nation. A lot of people say that we aren’t united states, but in the end, we really are the United States of America. We’re all united in our special ways,” said Wilson.