GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Ahead of Veterans Day, twenty-two World War II veterans were invited to be honored today in a ceremony at the Greenville VA Healthcare Center.
Of the twenty-two invited, six were able to make it.
- Army Corporal James Cooper
- Army T5 John Branham
- Army Private 1st Class Arletha Helton
- Army T3 Howard Tepper
- Navy Captain Conrad Odden
- Air Force Staff Sargent Fredrick Evans
World War II veterans paid a tremendous cost to defend the United States and were the first to serve in the nuclear age.
NC Senator Don Davis (District 5) was in attendance and gave a speech to the veterans and their families.
“We are appreciative of all their service and I just want to thank them on behalf of the state of North Carolina and let them know they’re not forgotten and we’re working hard to make sure that we take care of them,” said Senator Davis.
North Carolina has one of the largest populations of veterans in the nation and Davis said the state is working diligently to show their commitment.
Efforts to ease the transition from the military to the workforce include short-term workforce development, helping veterans move into entrepreneurship through the NC Military Business Center.
“We are trying to address efforts because PTSD, TBI, suicide continues to be a major issue that we know veterans are dealing with,” said Davis.
Oxygen therapy legislation has been moving forward as well as legislation to help active-duty soldiers be able to see their children before deployment.
Army Corporal James Cooper spoke to 9 On Your Side and says he still lives the war every day.
“There were 2,700 of us when we left California and we made seven invasions and I was sitting in Tokyo Bay when they dropped the atomic bomb,” said Cooper. “Out of the 2,700 of us, there were only 700 of us left.”
After his grueling experience in the war, Cooper arrived home in 1946.
He says being honored today feels great.
“It feels great, it feels great that I’m able to come here today. There’s a brother right there. There’s not many of us left,” said Cooper.
Today’s ceremony celebrated America’s heroes and showed them the state of North Carolina and the Greenville VA Health Care Center is behind them.