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In Honor of those who serve - Jim Burman

Jim Burman

Jim Burman served in both Okinawa and the Philippines during World War II. He was a gunner on a 50-caliber turret gun in the 284th AAA Gun Battalion.

He volunteered.

"I was one of the last ones that got in," said Burman, now 84. "There was no work at the time and I had just recently gotten married. I thought I might as well volunteer to get money to live on."

The war changed him, even though he said his time overseas was "more or less routine."

"It made me realize more what [life] is all about," the Cloquet man said. "I had a brother who was killed in World War II. It made you think more about what you were doing and what you should be doing."

Two men jumped overboard when Burman's ship was headed to the Pacific.

"I don't know why they did it," he said, noting that it was something he could never forget.

Burman is still involved in the local Cloquet VFW post and also participates in the Honor Guard here. He planned to spend Veterans Day with the Honor Guard, first at a funeral, then later honoring veterans at Sunnyside Health Care Center.

The WWII veteran didn't have an answer for how people might express their gratitude or respect for veterans other than saying "thanks," but he did say that going on the first Northland Honor Flight was a real treat.

"At the airport in Washington, D.C. it brought tears to my eyes, all the people clapping and hugging you as you walked down the aisle," Burman said.

~ Jana Peterson/Pine Journal