URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Every memorial day James kelly, a World War Two Veteran, thinks about his friends who died by his side.

Kelly said, “This will be many years I’ve gone out to Woodlawn Cemetery Memorial to remember all four of my friends and ones we lost and so forth.”

He was a Marine in World War Two. For at least 45 years he has visited four of his friends’ grave sites at the national cemetery in Danville. Kelly lost those friends during the invasion of Iwo Jima. He said he still remembers it vividly.

“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I know the boys over in Europe on d-day. I got a taste of what they had over there. It’s not a nice sight to see,” said Kelly.

He said he is thankful the government put aside a day to remember those who served and sacrificed their lives fighting.

Kelly said, “It’s great that they do and I think they should do more.”

Ray Elliot served as a Marine in the Philippines. He says it’s hard for veterans to forget their friends and be in battle.

“Those dates stick in the minds of veterans and they all remember the people they lost. We wouldn’t have the people we have here if it wasn’t for them,” said Elliot.

He says he remembers his cousin who fought on Omaha beach.

Elliot said, “I always remember my cousin Bruce Elliot. I grew up with him. I was five or six years old when he came back.”

Elliot says his cousin had such an impact on him that he wrote a book with a character based on his life.

“One of the novels that I wrote called wild hands toward the sky. One of the characters is based on him growing up,” said Elliot.

He told me no matter what you do during the three-day weekend whether be going out to the lake or grilling in your backyard.
He asks everyone to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives fighting for the country.

Elliot said no matter what you do during the three-day weekend whether it be going out to the lake or grilling in your backyard. He asks everyone to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives fighting for the country.