Museum dedicates new military exhibit

By LARRY C. BOWERS Staff Writer
Posted 8/11/17

The weather and the time of day apparently handicapped enthusiasm Thursday for a special program at the Museum Center at Five Points, promoting the facility’s current military exhibit and an …

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Museum dedicates new military exhibit

PAUL PERRY was one of two veterans who spoke at a special program at the Museum Center at Five Points on Thursday. Perry served in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Army Air Corps, and U.S. Air Force. The museum’s Jan Neyman listens in the background.
PAUL PERRY was one of two veterans who spoke at a special program at the Museum Center at Five Points on Thursday. Perry served in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Army Air Corps, and U.S. Air Force. The museum’s Jan Neyman listens in the background.
Banner photo, LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted

The weather and the time of day apparently handicapped enthusiasm Thursday for a special program at the Museum Center at Five Points, promoting the facility’s current military exhibit and an effort to call attention to the community’s veterans.

Veterans Jeff Morelock and Paul Perry were the guest speakers, with the event doubling as an exhibit of Perry’s impressive watercolor wildlife artwork.

The museum’s military exhibit is titled “War Memorials, Our Community: 7 Wars.” It is being displayed in the seven glass cases in the lobby, with other military displays along the opposite side of the room.

The military display is a temporary exhibit to go along with the museum’s mission of telling the history of the Ocoee Region in Southeast Tennessee.

Morelock and Perry talked briefly about their experiences in the U.S. Army and Air Force, respectfully.

Morelock was an administrative specialist in the U.S. Army, serving at Fort Campbell, Ky., and in Bangkok, Thailand.

Perry, 87 years old, served in the old Merchant Marines, the U.S. Army Air Corps, and then in the newly formed U.S. Air Force around 1950.

Morelock was asked why he joined the military. He said he checked at the local draft office, and was scheduled to be drafted in two to three weeks. “I went right around the corner to the U.S. Army’s recruiting office, and they had a program where you could serve two years. I signed up.”

Asked by museum officials about his sense of patriotism, and the opportunity to protect the country during the Vietnam War. Morelock said, “There was nothing like that. I, and most of the others I talked with, wanted to serve their time and come home without getting killed.”

Morelock emphasized he never served in combat, but he talked to those who did. He said that when they were being shot at, patriotism was not something they were thinking about.

He was also asked about his reception when he returned home as a Vietnam veteran. He said he never experienced the rejection which was widely reported across the nation.

Perry discussed the time he spent in three of the nation’s military organizations, but much of his talk was about the fact his military records were lost in 1970, and he has had a difficult time receiving the compensation which he earned.

Those difficulties have waned in recent years, he said. Much of Perry’s service time, four to five years, was served in Japan.

Thursday’s program was scheduled by the museum’s Jan Neyman and Emma-Leigh Evors. Mike Johnson of the Collections Department, and museum members Kathy and Paolo Davini, participated in the discussion, along with Perry’s wife, Barbara.

Entertaining prior to the program was the Cleveland Woodwind Trio of April Itson, Sandy Donegan and George Olin. This musical group will perform at the museum’s gala on Oct. 6.

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