JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A reminder came this week that every veteran has value and every veteran has a story worth preserving.
James Arnold died on May 25 at the age of 94. News Channel 11 viewers met Arnold in last year when his story of service in the Korean War launched the weekly Veteran’s Voices series.
“I was drafted in ’51”, Arnold told us. It was a sliver of crystal clear memory, something that grew harder to come by in his later years.
Arnold’s daughter, Laura Hodge, said her father always felt that his service in the Korean War was somehow “less than” the service of others.
“He knew how to type,” he said. “They needed people who could type order and work under commanding officers to do assignments.”
So instead of fighting in Korea, Arnold typed paperwork in Europe.
His knack for the written word would evidence itself in other ways. After the military, he worked for years as a special education instructor and wrote poetry.
The day of our interview, Arnold read one of his creations, a cleverly crafted poem about memories symbolized by a scrapbook.
“Just a dusty old scrapbook….with a few torn pages…but to me it brings joy and a worth more than any wages…”
And then the final line – an acknowledgement that every good story has an end.
“And as I turn the final page, I pause for one last look at my treasured memories, just a dusty old scrapbook.”
Hodge told us her father was a reminder that most veterans don’t have dazzling stories of heroics in battle. But that doesn’t mean they’re not heroes.
“Without people serving in other areas, the troops on the ground couldn’t do the job,” Hodge said. “Every role was significant. Every person who put on a uniform was significant.”