Honor Guard Keeps History Alive

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

WAYNESBORO -- For some, Monday is Labor Day. For others, it is a military holiday. On Sunday a group in Waynesboro celebrated the holiday weekend in style.

The All-American Honor Guard brought history to life, and brought back strong memories for one World War II veteran.

Homer Vaughn Wagnon, Jr. was 18 years old when he was drafted to serve his country. Now he is 90.

"It's difficult to deal with some of the memories I have," Wagnon said.

Monday marks the 68th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day. That is the day Japan surrendered to the United States, effectively ending World War II.

Even after 68 years, for Wagnon the memories are fresh.

"When I came back from Europe,I wanted to tell people about what had happened to me. But most people said - my mother, and dad - most people said, 'Forget it. Go back to school, get a job or do something else. Just forget it,'" he said. "But that's not possible, to forget it."

Instead, Wagnon got involved with the All-American Honor Guard, bringing American history to life through the eyes of soldiers spanning the timeline.

"We think it's important that people understand what other soldiers, what other citizens have sacrificed to help preserve this country," said All-American Honor Guard secretary Alan Alterman, portraying a militia member from the War of 1812.

"You can just read about [history] and see the pictures, or you can see them move like in a movie, but in real life," said third-grader Ashlynn Groah, experiencing the living history exhibit.

The exhibit helps remind people about the fight for freedom, and that history is more than words on a page, Wagnon said.

"The veterans have kept our country safe," he said.

Wagnon's division was ready to deploy to Japan when word came of Japan's surrender, he said.

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