Hugh and Jerri Mallett – True American patriots

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2004

Anytime there is an opportunity to honor their country with their presence, Hugh and Jerri Mallett will be there.

"If it's at all possible, we'll be there to honor our country and pay tribute to the men and women that made sacrifices so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today," Hugh Mallett said. "I guess I don't understand those who don't feel it's their patriotic duty to do so. Take Memorial Day, I doubt that there were more than 125 people at the program at Bicentennial Park-and that includes those that were on the program. To me, that's a shame."

Mallett attributes the absence of patriotism to the lack of appreciation for what others have sacrificed for their country and their countrymen.

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"Some people just don't know what it has taken," he said.

"They don't understand. They don't know what it's all about. They don't know the importance of service to your country."

Mallett served with pride during World War II. He left for "overseas" on Nov. 24, 1943, and returned two years later.

"Being away from your family and your home for two years is not easy," he said. "Some soldiers served longer than that. We were told that we would be there for the 'duration plus six months.' So, whatever the duration plus was how long you served."

Mallett said his service started late so his unit stayed overseas late.

"After the war ended we spent three weeks at military police school," he said. "Then, we stayed there until we got enough points to be transported back to the states."

Mallett comes from a patriotic family. His grandfather served in the War Between the States and his father was conscripted into service during the Spanish American War.

"He was in Florida waiting to go to Cuba when the war ended, so he didn't have to go," Mallett said of his father. "One of my brothers served during World War II in the Panama Canal Zone. Another brother was turned down for medical reasons. We've always been a patriotic family."

Mallett's wife, Jerri, remembers that World War II was a very trying time.

"It was difficult for everyone, even those of us here at home," she said.

Worrying about those who were fighting a "terrible" war and the sacrifices they were making was the worst thing, but Mrs. Mallett said sacrifices were also being made on the home front.

"So many items were rationed that life was hard," she said. "But those were the sacrifices that we could make for the men and women over there."

Mrs. Mallett did not meet her future husband until 1947 when she was working as a nurse's aide at the old Edge Hospital in Troy.

"Hugh's father was in the hospital and that's how I met him," she said. "For me, it was love at first sight."

For him, too.

The Malletts will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary on Dec. 14. 2004, and she said their marriage has been a wonderfully happy one and their share a patriotic spirit.

"We both love our country and we don't miss a patriotic program unless we have to," she said. "We feel like it's our privilege and we know it's our duty."