'If they served in the military, they need to be honored'

'If they served in the military, they need to be honored' »Play Video
Bill Knudsen, Jr. served with the Navy during World War II. 18 veterans were given special awards on Veterans Day at Regency Park Assisted Living and Memory Care Center. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Veterans Day brought a special gathering and medal presentations in Southwest Portland.

The non-profit Veterans for Oregon presented Honorable Service medals to veterans at Regency Park Assisted Living and Memory Care Center.

World War II Veteran Bill Knudsen, Jr. said the recognition was nice, but he hopes everyone focuses on more recent veterans.

“Do more for the veterans and always take care of them,” said Knudsen, Jr., who served with the Navy in the Philippines.

“I came back unscathed. I was lucky. Not one man on my ship was hit,” he said. “I saw a lot of ships hit. I saw maybe 13 or 14 ships hit.”

Eighteen veterans received a medal of recognition for their service Sunday.

“If they served in the military, they need to be honored,” said Regency Park Activity Director Diane Welch. “They need to be honored for everything that they’ve done. The fighting that they’ve done, the friend’s that they’ve lost, the family members that they’ve lost. They need to be honored for this.”

Knudsen, Jr. became a lawyer and taught at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. He said benefits and work may be some of the most valuable recognition today’s veterans might value.

“See that they get jobs. Some jobs. Some veterans got into drugs because they were so beat up mentally, and we’ve got to cut ‘em a lot of slack.”