EDITOR'S NOTE: At the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford, a special honor Monday for two men -- both more than a century old -- who served in uniform at a critical time in this country's history...World War 2. WTVA's Mike Russell, a veteran himself, was at the ceremony, and filed this report.
OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - The ceremony was brief, but heartfelt. Two veterans were honored for their military service that helped preserve the peace we all enjoy, and are thankful for, especially at this time of the year.
At the Veterans Home in Oxford, reminders everywhere of the heroes who live there, and the military service for which a grateful nation provides their home. Two men -- Norman Clark, 103 years old, and Linn Pang, 105 years old -- each were presented with American flags flown over our nation's capitol -- the same flag each of them served during World War II. Mr. Clark was in Pearl Harbor when it was hit. He saw the Arizona go up in flames, and then explode.
"The whole harbor was on fire." said Mr. Clark. "And the guys who did get off the ship and swim underwater far enough to get out of the fire, a lot of them couldn't make it."
Mr. Pang was an aviation radio technician in the Navy, and despite the racial discrimination that was so prominent in the early days of the war, he served with distinction on the island at Attu near Alaska. He used and protected some of the most advanced radio technologies in the world. Despite the seriousness of his time in the military, he's been able to maintain his sense of humor.
"He takes life seriously," said Gilroy Chow, married to Mr. Pang's niece. "But then on the other hand, he always sees the humorous side of things. So that's why he's so much fin to be around."
There is no way to put a value on the service of these two men, other than to say it is priceless. These men served their country with honor, and took their rightful places as part of The Greatest Generation.