Maurice Maune

Maurice Maune, center, was honored by the Washington American Legion Post 218 last year for 50 years of membership. Also shown are Rick Rajkovich and Dawn Kleinheider.

Veterans Day is a time to remember those who have served in the military. For Maurice Maune, it’s a time to remember family.

Not only is the lifelong Washington area resident a veteran, but so too are members of his family. He said he takes pride in having served, and having family who served — and still are serving — as well.

Maune, 76, was drafted into the United States Army in the early 1960s. The Korean War was over and the Vietnam War was ongoing. After boot camp, he was shipped off to Germany to serve as a tank gunner.

“When you’re drafted they just assign you a job,” he said.

He never saw combat, but it was always lurking. He said the Cold War with Russia was a looming threat that he and his fellow soldiers thought about daily.

“Russia, we didn’t know if they were going to do anything or not,” Maune said. “They were right across the border and they said if Russia decided to do something, we’d be on the front line in about eight to 10 hours. We were always worried about that.”

Maune said as he far as he knows, he was the first in his family to serve. He would soon be joined by his youngest brother, Francis. Like Maurice, Francis also was drafted. Tragically he was killed in combat in Vietnam in July 1970.

Francis is the only Washington resident to have been killed in Vietnam. His picture still prominently hangs in Maurice’s home just outside the Washington city limits.

Maurice’s son Aaron, inspired by his father, uncle, and other relatives on his mother’s side, decided to enlist in the military. He joined the Marine Corps in 1996.

Aaron Maune has made a career out of serving. According to an online resume, he is currently a Senior Operations Manager at 1st Battalion 4th Marines at Camp Pendleton in California.

Maurice Maune is soft spoken, but he said he is very proud about his son’s chosen career.

Maurice Maune’s involvement with military life didn’t end when he came home from the service. He immediately joined American Legion Post 218 in Washington. Earlier this year Maurice celebrated his 50th anniversary as a Legion member.

“Right after I got out of the service, I went down and joined,” he said. “I just wanted to have a place to go.”

Later this year he’ll have another 50th anniversary to celebrate. On Nov. 4 he and his wife Shirley will celebrate 50 years of marriage.

The two met at a bar in Villa Ridge after Maune returned home for the service. He had been a regular at the bar playing music before shipping out. When he returned, he was set up by some others at the bar with Shirley.

The two hit it off and were married. Together they have three kids and six grandkids.

After the Army, Maune worked in several jobs around Washington. He worked in manufacturing and factories for 38 years before retiring in 2007.

In retirement, he said he likes to spend time with woodworking. He’s created benches for home, tables and other projects. Outside his house, he crafted some “spinners” that move with the wind. The spinners are, of course red, white and blue.

This year he will once again celebrate Veterans Day.

“I think of all veterans — there’s no special one,” Maune said. “You’re out there serving your country so everyone else can be free.”