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On Memorial Day, Durham military vet turning 93 recalls WWII, Korean conflict

May 27, 2019

Thurman Scott is a World War II and Korean War veteran who lives in Durham.

A few days shy of turning 93, his memory is as sharp as it’s ever been.

Visitors lucky enough to spend a few minutes with him learn quickly that he is a big fan of smiling and laughing.

“I’ve been around the block a couple times,” he says through laughter. Scott will celebrate another birthday this week. As he nears his special day, his thoughts have turned to the past, specifically growing up in Rocky Point, about 20 miles north of Wilmington. “Everybody always asked us why it was named that, and we said we don’t know because there weren’t no rocks there,” he said. In 1944, Scott enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

“Back then, everybody wanted to serve,” he recalls. “You couldn’t wait to get into the service (because) everybody wanted to serve.” Scott and his five brothers were all in the service at the same time, and they all returned home from the war and serving abroad. “It’s pretty remarkable,” said his daughter, Annadale Scott. “Several of them were wounded pretty bad. The casualties from WWII and the Korean War were tremendous.  So to have them all come back home was kind of unusual.”

When all the brothers returned home safely, Scott’s mother received a very special flag.

“Their mother, my grandmother, was awarded the Six Blue Star Flag from the president for that,” Annadale Scott said. “The Gold Star moms are for when someone is lost in combat or killed in action. You got a blue star if the son came home.”

“We was all lucky because we all made it home,” Thurman Scott said. Anyone who knows Scott understands his knack for storytelling. “It’s great,” said Steve Davis, a family friend. “I love to come back and hear the stories. There’s always a new story.  Every time I come over, there’s something new.”

Said Annadale Scott: “A lot of times, you find out history when you sit down and talk to people who are older than you and have been through things. You find out wonderful things.”