On the cusp of Veterans Day, a crowd of Perry Hall seniors reflected on times of war and peace in their nation's history.
On Friday morning at the Perry Hall McDonald's, 88-year-old John Poferl slowly pulled himself to his feet as the Oakettes sang "God Bless America." The retired homebuilder served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, a deck hand on ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific between 1943 and 1947.
"Veterans Day—it's a reason to remember all we went through," Poferl said.
At another table sat Melvin Foard, 77, who served stateside in the U.S. Army Reserve between 1955 and 1963. He went on to become a machinist and is now retired.
"There are soldiers still over there fighting for our country. They're still preserving our freedom," Foard said.
Lee Kessler, 77, served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War between 1953 and 1956. He currently works as a real estate agent in White Marsh, after losing his retirement at Bethlehem Steel.
He said that Veterans Day helps elevate Americans beyond much of the recent political contention by returning focus to fundamental values.
"A lot of things aren't going right in our country, but on Veterans Day, we seem to come together. Our country was founded on religious freedom. A lot of men fought for it, and we're still fighting for it," he said.
Tell us what Veterans Day means to you, and who you're honoring this weekend.