Whether reticent or talkative, veterans and relatives of veterans like knowing their service is appreciated.


Veterans and Widows are Recognized in honor of Armed Forces Day at Savannah Cottage of Lakeland, Florida.


Article By Robin Williams Adams

Lakeland, Florida

Published: Friday, May 18, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.

Last Modified: Friday, May 18, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.

LAKELAND | As the United States honors its veterans today for Armed Forces Day, some who served have memories they'd like to forget.


Among them are Charles Stanley, 88, an Army paratrooper in Europe in World War II, and Ira Robinson, 79, in the Army 20 years, who suffered through the cold of the Korean War and was injured by a land mine in Vietnam.



Volunteer Specialist Jinho Hwang, right, pins a commemorative pin on the collar of U.S. Army Airborne World War II veteran Charles Stanley, 88, during the "Cornerstone Salutes! Our Veterans program at Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care in Lakeland Friday.



Fifteen veterans and the widows of three more were honored Friday as Cornerstone Hospice recognized them in a veterans ceremony called Cornerstone Salutes! Most are residents of Savannah Cottage of Lakeland where the event was held; one works in maintenance there and another was visiting the nursing center with his wife.

Most, including some with memory issues, saluted back as Cornerstone representatives saluted and praised them. Those scheduled for the presentation received certificates of appreciation, American flags and pins.

"Each and every one of you made a sacrifice," said Alex Newsom, an Army veteran and a Cornerstone clinical liaison.

"Many of you put yourself in harm's way."

Veterans of the Air Force, the Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and Army were recognized. Their service experiences span three wars and the sometimes uncertain peace in between.

Richard Newton, 90, retired as a major in the Air Force after a career from 1943-1961. From a base in China, he bombed targets along the Sea of Japan. In another posting, he was at a base in Labrador, north of the Arctic Circle, said Cornerstone representative Manny Hernandez.



Volunteer Specialist Jinho Hwang, left, salutes, as retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ira Robinson, 79, returns the salute Friday.


Robinson, dressed in a dark jacket and tie, continues to have problems with his ears after a land mine curtailed his service career. Otherwise, he said, he is doing well and has some good memories of his travels. He was drafted for Korea, he said, then went on to serve in Germany and multiple places in the U.S.

"I am proud of it, but I don't talk about it," said Robinson, a staff sergeant when he left the service.

Friends who were hurt and people who were killed around them, including some by the land mine, are some of the memories he and other veterans suppress.

"I don't forget them, but I try to forget the incidents," Robinson said.

Stanley prefers thinking about the post-war years, in which he "worked for General Motors most of my whole life."

"He's shared very little with me (about the war)," said his son, Mark Stanley of Gibsonia. "He didn't like to talk about it."

Whether reticent or talkative, veterans and relatives of veterans like knowing their service is appreciated.

"I spent five years and three months in the Coast Guard," said Eugene Fraiser, 92, born in Eagle Lake but a longtime Auburndale resident.

He served in the North Atlantic.




Volunteer Thom Fuhriman, left, salutes United States Air Force, World War II veteran Ralph Graber, 91, left center, and U.S. Navy, WW II veteran Eugene Fraiser, 92, right center, during the "Cornerstone Salutes! Our Veterans program at Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care in Lakeland Friday.


"It's an honor for him to get some recognition at his age," said Peggy Howard of Polk City, his daughter.

The Polk City resident helped her father, who wore a short-sleeved shirt adorned with flags, recount a work life that began with picking fruit. He moved into construction, honing his skills as a carpenter, and retired as a supervisor of large construction projects.

Walter Costlow, 88, retired as a chief warrant officer after 27 years of active duty. He talked enthusiastically about experiences that included serving in a helicopter squadron in Korea and with the helicopters that transported presidents.

He was in Vietnam and China, he said, and served from coast to coast in the U.S.

"I had an incredible career," said Costlow, who wore a red cap proclaiming U.S. Marine Corps Retired.

"You had to be willing to be in the right place and the right time."

When it came time to retire, he didn't want to give up all his ties to the military. He spent 17 years as a service representative for Boeing, said Irene Costlow, his wife of 66 years, who was in the WAVES.

WAVES, a World War II-era female division of the U.S. Navy, stood for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services. 


Cornerstone SALUTES! is a comprehensive Hospice veterans’ program, by specially trained professionals and volunteers, recognizing veteran patients’ service to their country.