Veteran recounts experiences

By Jessie Weisner
November 9, 2018 - 4:48pm Updated: November 9, 2018 - 7:15pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Remembrance day is coming up, and many are reflecting on those who fought for our country.

Gordon Newman is a Medicine Hat local, and an active part in the veteran community.

He decided to join the military more than 60 years ago, even though he was a year too young.

“I joined up in February 1951, I was 17,” says Gordon. “Yeah you couldn’t join till your 18.”

Despite his young and unknown age, his unit was called to Korea on March 2nd, 1952, just a year after he’d joined.

His role was in artillery, typically far behind the other soldiers.

However, on one instance he made it to the front line, and that just about backfired.

“One of the soldiers up there just grabbed me by the collar and pulled me back, he says ‘you wanna get killed?’ Cause they had snipers, and they were good shots I guess, otherwise I would have been done.”

Similar to many veterans, he did experience tragedy while he was overseas.

“We had one fella that did get killed, one of the shells exploded when it went out of the gun.”

Gordon spent 14 months in Korea when he was just a teenager.

Like many of the young men on that mission, he saw things that he’ll never forget.

“The devastation of the different towns that we went through, It kind of hurts that they have to go through something like that because somebody decided they wanted to take over some territory.”

After returning to Canada, Gordon decided to leave the military in 1954.

Along side his wife of 63 years, he ended up in Medicine Hat and helped begin the Korean Association for veterans in 1994.

That was 24 years ago, and now he’s one of the last members.

“We had 34 members, and up until yesterday we had 4 and today we have 3 left.”

The three members left are 85, 88 and 91, but they still work to honour other veterans.

Gordon will be laying a wreath in honour of Korean war veterans on Remembrance day.

“I wouldn’t say I enjoy doing that it’s just that I feel it’s an honour to lay a wreath in honour of Korean veterans.”

For now, Gordon says one of his biggest goals is to make it to next year remembrance day celebrations.

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