BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– The stars and stripes mean something different to everyone. To Patrick Parker, it means bravery, sacrifice and honor.
Parker is the curator at the Raleigh County Veterans Museum, but the museum means more than just a building full of stories to him.
“My cousin George served in the Korean War, his uniform is on display here. My great Uncle Billy served in World War II as a B24 Liberator, he never made it home. His stuff is preserved up here. Some of my father’s items are preserved up here from his time in the Navy. Some of my grandfather’s items are preserved up here as well,” said Parker.
Parker became part of the museum in 2005 through JROTC. He said his love for history and his family ties led him there and his love for his country kept him.
“It does give me a sense of patriotism in that way that I can come in here and see the artifacts and remember what our country has gone through and remember what these soldiers have sacrificed. Especially because I didn’t get to serve myself, I tried to enlist and they wouldn’t take me so this is my way of serving our country is trying to tell the stories of those that have gone before us,” said Parker.
Parker said being able to educate the public on the history of our country and the importance of remembering veteran’s stories is the way he shows his patriotism.
“It is as the famous quote by George Santayana says “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” So we always have to remember our history because if we don’t then we’re going to go through it again,” said Parker.
Parker said he will remain at the museum sharing the stories of the past for as long as he is able.