WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Veterans in the metro are coming together to share stories of their service.
"One hundred twenty-five guys get to fly the airplanes, but it takes all 6,000 people doing their jobs to make that aircraft carrier function."
Dozens of veterans at WesleyLife swapped stories about their years in uniform over coffee on Friday. The annual event is a way of keeping memories of American conflicts alive.
One veteran described his service as both exhilarating and terrifying, but said he wouldn't trade those years for anything.
"It means that I lost some friends. I got to be places that I never thought I'd be. For instance, in the Philippines, on the island of Luzon, we ran across some native people and they were carrying spears and had a little cloth around their waist, that sort of thing, and it was very historic. I'm glad I was able to serve," said WWII veteran Keith Kirkpatrick. "I was fired on by machine guns twice and one was ours. That's a bad deal, but I was just real lucky."