It is always great to have groups visit our Duplin County Veterans Museum. Just recently I had the men’s Sunday School Class from Richlands First Baptist Church tour the museum. First SGT Jim Reifinger USMC/Retired, is a good friend of mine and we served together in the Marines. If you know Jim, then you know what a real war hero is. He is the “Real Deal.” Jim also is a Sunday School teacher, and brought his class to the museum, which consists mostly of veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I was in awe of these fellow hero veterans and felt honored to welcome them.
As we toured, they were amazed at how many of their friends and relatives were represented. They may live in Onslow County, but some were raised in Duplin County, or had close relatives that are from here. The stories they shared of B.F. Grady High School, and the Warsaw Veterans Parade that they and their families had attended in past years were amazing.
The knowledge from these older veterans just kept flowing as we moved from each area representing different periods of wars that Duplin County veterans have served. In return, these veterans were amazed at how much respect is shown to Duplin County veterans through our Veterans Museum. The sacrifices that have been made by our local heroes is ever present for all to appreciate. I had a great visit with our fellow Richlands area veterans and I hated to see them leave.
There is always a very strong and common bond among veterans. My wife and I joined many other veterans and spent our Christmas Day at the Jacksonville USO serving a Christmas dinner to the many Marines who were not able to be home for Christmas. After all, that’s what veterans do, take care of those protecting our freedoms as we were taken care of during our tour of duty.
Joe Berne is a retired U.S. Marine Corps MSGT and Vietnam veteran who serves as the Duplin County Veterans Museum curator. New museum hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Appointments anytime by calling 910-293-2190. Berne can also be reached at 910-265-3679.