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Batavia veterans honored on Pearl Harbor Day

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Frank McKee was only 5 years old when the Japanese launched an attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. But he still remembers hearing about the horrific details of that day.

“I remember the news of the Pearl Harbor attack,” said McKee, a resident of the Heritage Woods of Batavia assisted-­living community and an Army veteran.

McKee and other veterans living at Heritage Woods were honored Friday by Batavia’s American Legion Post 504 as part of the American Legion’s Gifts To The Yanks That Gave program. The national program was started in 1944 to remember hospitalized war veterans.

McKee, who served in the Army from 1958 to 1960, said he was pleased to be honored.

“It means a lot to me,” the 77-year-old said. “It was a good experience to be in the Army.”

Heritage Woods resident Bobby Dennie, 71, also enjoyed being honored. He served in the Air Force from 1960 to 1964.

“It feels pretty good,” he said.

Batavia American Legion Post Commander Bob Zeman said honoring the veterans is important to the post.

“We wanted to thank them for their time in the service and what they did,” he said. “Some of them are mentors.”

Zeman also is a Vietnam veteran.

“We recognize our own, whether they are an American Legion member or not,” he said. “They put their time in, and we are thankful for what they did.”

Batavia American Legion Post members on Friday also honored veterans living at The Holmstad retirement community, as well as those at the Batavia Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. They also visited and honored fellow Batavia American Legion Post members who are shut-ins.

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