Dick Blake, of Dalton, served in the U.S. Marines 1950-1954.
DALTON Fresh out of high school, an 18-year-old Dick Blake visited his uncle in Chicago.
His uncle was a U.S. Marines recruiter. Before his visit was over, Blake had enlisted.
He called his parents in Wooster to let them know the news – and to say good-bye.
Seventy years later, Blake said what seems surprising is how much he traveled during his service after boot camp in 1950, and the responsibility he was given at a young age.
Veterans Day may look different this year because of the pandemic.
Traditionally, schools and other organizations invite veterans for ceremonies and events. Still, people are thinking about and thanking their veterans today. Some restaurants, such as Dutch Kitchen in Dalton, are offering a discount today to men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Blake said Veterans Day is important to honor as well as learn about men and women who have served.
One year on Veterans Day, Blake was invited to speak at Dalton Elementary & Middle School and told students about his role as a radio operator. His time in the military 1950-1954 was different than what others experienced decades later, he said, but he recommends everyone can gain discipline and experience from serving in the military for at least a couple of years.
“It was a different time,” he said.
His uncles also had different experiences from when they served years before him.
He recently went through some photo albums with black and white photos. He was the one taking the photos so they feature many of his comrades but very few of himself.
Blake noted that he became very close to his fellow servicemen who were from across the country, but lost touch with them after everyone returned home. He was able to keep tabs on some. He knew when a friend was killed during the Korean War.
In 1950, Blake went to Paris Island for boot camp. He was stationed out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.