Mary Evelyn Kerns always celebrated Veterans Day with her late husband, Jim.
"In World War II, that's where I met my husband. He passed away in 2001," said Kerns.
Jim's birthday fell on November 11 and the couple had more than that reason to celebrate. They were both Veterans of World War II and met while each was serving their country.
"I think Veterans Day is very important. It's always young people fighting the wars," said Kerns.
Kerns, 93, was born in Trade City, Pa. in October 1921. Her parents moved to Rising Sun when she was six weeks old. She graduated from Rising Sun High School in 1938, at the age of 16. She began training as a nurse, although she was technically not yet old enough, that year. She began training at a Wilmington, Delaware hospital and graduated in 1941. She was working the night shift when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
She joined the Army Nurses Corps in October, 1942. She served at Fort DuPont, Delaware and then transferred to N.C. less than a month later. She went on a blind date later that month and married her husband, Jim, 10 days later. Jim was an enlisted man, so they were not allowed to date. They kept the marriage a secret for six months. After they were found out, Jim was transferred to New Jersey and Evelyn to North Carolina. In 1943, Jim went to Africa and Evelyn was assigned to a London hospital. She was transferred several times and ended up in Wales.
She returned to the U.S. in 1945, and was discharged as a 2nd Lt. in October 1945. She and Jim both returned to Rising Sun.
She worked as a school nurse and a public health nurse for the Cecil County Health Department.
A half hour after outlining what Veterans Day means to her, Kerns found out what it meant to the rest of the congregation at Janes United Methodist Church.
On Sunday morning Kerns, and other church members were honored for their service. A display was set up in the church lobby featuring photos of the church members who are veterans. A slide show and special music were also part of the celebration of veterans.
Children at the church got to shake hands with their heroes. Rev. Drew Christian explained to the children during his Children's Message that veterans are those who "sacrificed their time and effort so we could all be here." He then invited children to mingle in the congregation and meet veterans face to face and give them a handshake.
Kerns received special recognition as being the church's eldest veteran. Her son, Tim, read his mother's life history which he wrote with his wife, Dale. Evelyn's grandchildren, Katy and Alex, escorted their grandmother to the front of the church where she collected a floral bouquet decorated with an American flag.
"I never expected anything like this," said Kerns, as she was honored.