BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA)- The family of a Mississippi man imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII received his service medals today.
Walter Gann was born in 1922 and lived in Calhoun City. When he was 18 years old, he was sent to the Philippine islands with the US Army Air Forces. A couple of years later, Gann found himself as a prisoner of a war camp in Japan where he stayed until in the end of the war..
Congressman Trent Kelly and the VFW of Booneville honored corporal Walter Gann and presented his family with two service medals and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.
After months of fighting the Japanese in the Philippines, Gann and his fellow soldiers were left with no supplies or food. The soldiers had no choice but to surrender. Gann walked 66 miles in the Bataan death march in April of 1942 without adequate food, water, and in the heat.
"How much you much you must love your family, how much you much you must believe in this nation to endure what they endured," Kelly said.
Even with all of the trauma from the war, Debbie Stolz, describes her father as a sweet and humble man, "He would give you the last of anything he had if you needed it."
Gann spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war in Japan. After the war, he returned to the U.S. and spent time in a hospital before returning to his family farm in Calhoun City. Gann moved to Booneville in 1949 and started his family. He later moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he died in 1980. He returned to Mississippi one last time and was laid to rest in Jumpertown.
Many family members, friends, and veterans came today to honor Corporal Walter Gann, "I don't know how to express my appreciation that I have for everyone that made this possible and for everyone that came."
Some of Gann's honors include a purple heart, good conduct medal, WWII victory medal, and the bronze star. Congressman Kelly also honored Gann with a proclamation presented in the u. S. House of representatives.