KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – A World War II veteran who lived and served through Jim Crow laws and segregation was honored Sunday at G.I. Joe’s Military Living History Museum.
It was part of the museum’s Black History Month program.
Dozens of people sat in appreciation to salute 100-year-old Isaac Pope.
“I am just grateful that he has lived these many years and have succeeded as much as he has,” Linwood E. Berry said.
Berry is Pope’s nephew.
“Uncle Isaac has always been like a mentor for me,” Berry said. “I wanted to be like my Uncle Isaac.”
His uncle served in the first black unit in the Army allowed to go into battle during WWII.
“He has led me quite much,” Berry said.
Pope led Berry to follow in his footsteps and also enlist in the military.
“I know the things he went through, the anxiety, struggles,” Berry said.
Pope was not able to make it to the event because of an injury, but his family and band of brothers still came to salute him.
“For us veterans it means a great deal, because there are very few African American people that served during World War II and had the opportunity to come back to Kinston and make such a drastic impact on the progress of the people here in this town,” veteran and museum founder Eric Cantu said.
His impact includes helping with the Boys & Girls Club, giving a voice to the importance of the NAACP and more.
Berry says he appreciates all of his uncle’s accomplishments and is proud to be associated with him.
“I am just grateful for being part of his family,” Berry said.
The program also included a clip from an upcoming documentary on his life.