Veterans gather at Ike homecoming

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

DENISON, TX-- Many visited President Eisenhower's birthplace in Denison today to watch an esteemed Eisenhower impersonator replicate Ike's 1946 return to Denison. Of those in attendance were three World War II veterans.

Meet Weldon, Cecil and Donald. These three came to Denison to visit Ike's birthplace, and reminisce about their service during World War II.

"Seeing these different people from year to year has become something that we don't want to miss. These reunions are great," said veteran, Cecil Delaney.

The men are part of the 297th Engineer Combat Battalion. Their families have been getting the veterans together since 1994.

"It is terrific to see these guys come together. And the years, they may not move as quickly as they did , but the years just disappear and their eyes light up when they start talking about what they did in the war, and the good times that they had, and the things that they did that were so important for us to win the war," said family member, Evelyn McCarty.

"We had a time. I just can't believe all this time has passed, and here we are with our friends and all these lovely people," said veteran Donald Richards.

When they first began the reunions there were 34 men.

"There were several that wanted to make it, that had said that they would. But, on account of health, they just couldn't all make it," said veteran Weldon McClane.

The men watched the reinactment of Ike's homecoming, got to ride the old war cars and shared stories with many.

Weldon's daughter, Evelyn, says these reunions have taught her to be appreciative of service men and women. She says even though she has heard their stories more than a dozen times, they will never get old.

"If they don't share their stories, those are things that we'll never know. Reading it in a book is not nearly as interesting as sitting across from one of them and listening to the things that they did," said McCarty.

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