WASHINGTON — Don Baker and Oscar Means Jr. share more than living on the same street.
Much earlier in their lives, they fought for our country.
They now live on Heather Court in a 14-unit condominium complex on the south end of Washington.
They're two of the reasons why America pauses every year on Nov. 11 to honor veterans on Veterans Day.
Baker, 86, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1949 to 1952. He was in Korea during the Korean War as a P-51 aircraft mechanic. He can tell you exactly how long he was there.
"I landed in Korea on Oct. 3, 1950, and left Feb. 12, 1952," he said. "The Korean War is called 'the forgotten war.' But it happened. I was there."
Means, 91, was in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1947. He was in Germany during World War II in 1944 and 1945. He was there when the war ended with the Germans' surrender.
"I remember seeing German soldiers with white flags on their guns," he said.
Each Heather Court veteran has been on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials there.
Baker traveled to our nation's capital in May 2016 with son-in-law Kelly Stewart of Washington.
Means went in September with his grandson D.J. Kober of Pekin.
Baker and Means are proud they fought for their country — Baker flies a U.S. flag at his home each day — and they feel great pride on Veterans Day.
Baker said he especially enjoys the Sunday service around Veterans Day when veterans are honored at his church, Sunnyland Christian Church.
"You have to feel good about doing something for your country," Means said. "And I appreciate everything said about veterans on Veterans Day."
Born in Cerro Gordo, a village in Piatt County, Illinois, Baker moved with his family to East Peoria when he was in fifth grade.
He was a truck driver for more than 38 years, most of the time with Burlington Trucking.
He and his wife, Barbara, who will have been married for 66 years in January, lived on Marion Avenue in East Peoria for 41 years before moving to Heather Court about 7 1/2 years ago.
Means, a Missouri native, was employed by Caterpillar Inc. for 32 years, retiring in 1982 when he was working at the Tech Center in Mossville. He's lived on Heather Court for about 10 years.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.