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At 102, Kansas City’s oldest veteran shares thoughts of what Memorial Day has become

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City’s oldest veteran will turn 102 years old on Friday. He has some thoughts about what Memorial Day has become

Sam Montague joined the Air Force in 1938. His military career spanned World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War before he retired in 1972.

Born May 30, 1912 -- Decoration Day as it was known then -- was termed Memorial Day after World War I. In the memoir he penned in his late 80s, Montague expressed disappointment about the commercialization of Memorial Day. His wife Marjorie explained.

"The meaning of Memorial Day to honor soldiers was lost because it became the first day of summer and the first day of swimming pools and fun and games and, of course, instead of saying bye-bye to those who have gone, they were saying "buy, buy, go shop,'" Marjorie Montague, wife, said.

Montague came to Kansas City to work for President Eisenhower at his non-profit, People to People. He was instrumental in shaping Kansas City as we know it, serving on committees that passed bonds for KCI, Truman Medical Center and the re-dedication of the Liberty Memorial.

This Memorial Day, a few days from 102 years old, Montague enjoyed the holiday on his patio with his wife and family.

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