Stillwater vet's home is a memorial to servicemen and women
By Christine VanTimmeren
STILLWATER — Memorial Day is something most of us celebrate once a year, but a veteran in Stillwater remembers those soldiers who have died every single day. Wayne Pettyjohn's house resembles a museum full of military artifacts. For him, everyday is Memorial Day.The history of nearly every war this planet has seen lies within artifacts at Pettyjohn's home."I'm interested in the history behind these things and we have some marvelous stories of the history of the real people," said Pettyjohn.He can tell you the story behind every single item. Pettyjohn's fascination with military memorabilia started when he was a kid and his great uncle gave him a WWI shell casing. He's spent nearly every day since scooping up items from garage sales, flee markets, military shows and friends.Take a tour of Pettyjohn's military collection here. "As I sit at my desk and wonder, my eyes kind of move from one place to another recalling what happened," Pettyjohn said.A military man himself, Pettyjohn served as a Marine, then a National Guardsman, then the Army Reserve. He's seen war, experienced loss and it still haunts him."It really affects me, especially since I went to those cemeteries in France and they really got to me," he said.Even though it hurts him to remember, he never wants to forget. Pettyjohn says he appreciates what has been done, and the people who did it.His home is a memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and every day he pays his respects. He only hopes others took the time Monday to do that as well."The two best days in the Marine Corps was the day I enlisted and the day I got out. But I was awfully proud I had been there and done that," Pettyjohn said. "I'm sure the same is true for these other people."80 year old Pettyjohn is a retired OSU professor and a novelist. He's written three historical fiction books about soldiers and is in the process of writing another.
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