Local veteran honored for service during World War II

(WTHI Photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Many are taking the time to honor servicemen and women for their sacrifices during the Memorial Day holiday.

The Country Club of Terre Haute held a special presentation in their remembrance. With help from Boy Scout Troop 38, they raised an American flag that was flown by an Army unit in Afghanistan.

“So many people celebrate with parties, pools and that kind of stuff, but many of them forget the true meaning of what Memorial Day is and it’s to honor those who have passed away serving our country,” said Tim Pittman, Scoutmaster.

While a new flag was flown at the country club, the current one was placed in new hands. The troop presented the current flag to John Newlin, a local veteran who served in World War II.

“We left from New Orleans and the ship went to New Guinea. We didn’t know where New Guinea was, but it’s south of Australia, a big island, a jungle,” said Newlin.

Newlin served in an Engineer Battalion. He says their job was to maintain the roads and build bridges and buildings.

“It was like a construction organization and we did a good job,” he said with a smile.

As Newlin held the presented flag in his hands, he spoke humbly, accepting it on behalf of those who have fought and sacrificed.

“There are so many who earned it and deserve it better than I. If I may accept it in behalf of the others,” he said, “I was overseas in the Army for two years and I did my job, but there were so many who did so much more than I that have sacrificed in combat duty. I didn’t have combat duty. I did my job, as along with a lot of others and it’s an honor, but it’s more than I’ve earned and I appreciate it.”

Having the Boy Scout Troop there to present Newlin’s flag was a touching moment. That’s because Newlin was also a Scoutmaster following the war.

“I think it was very appropriate. I was pleased and the boys did a nice job,” he said, “They’ll not forget it, it’ll be something they’ll remember.”

Pittman says they’re grateful to have met Newlin and honor him for his service, as well as those who lost their lives.

“A lot of our work is in duty to God and duty to country,” he said, “This is one of the most important things that I think we can do as scouts is to honor those who have served and pay remembrance to those who are no longer with us.”

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