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Call of duty

POSTED: June 26, 2014 6:53 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

The World War II vets honored by the city of Rincon stand ready to greet a line of well-wishers Monday afternoon at Macomber Park. Those honored include M.C. Jaudon, J. Walter Tuten Sr., Cordell Chambers, Lanier White Sr., Peter Giles Jr., James Sapp and Neal Corbin.

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It has been a long time since the men lined up Monday afternoon at the Macomber Park building marched in a parade. Saturday morning, several of Effingham County’s last living veterans of World War II will be assembled and part of the procession for Rincon’s annual Freedom Rings parade — but they likely will have a perch on a car to greet the crowds expected to gather.

Monday afternoon, the city held a reception at the Macomber Park building to recognize the parade’s honorees, including Marion Jaudon, another World War II vet the city was informed of after their deadline to order plaques.

John Arden accepted the award on behalf of his father, Milton Joe Arden. His father is in a nursing home, and the younger Arden said his father would be excited to get it and he was glad the city decided to the few remaining living World War II vets.

“I think it’s important,” John Arden said. “It’s not but a few more years we’re going to have this opportunity.”

Arden was one of three Army members honored, along with James Sapp and Lanier White Sr. The city recognized former Marines Neal Corbin and Cordell Chambers and retired sailors Peter Giles Jr. and J. Walter Tuten Sr.

According to the National World War II Museum, there are just over 1 million living World War II veterans. More than 16 million American men and women were in uniform during the conflict, and approximately 555 are dying each day.

Georgia is 15th in the nation in the number of living World War II vets.

Sapp recalled how the state House of Representatives honored him on his 90th birthday. He also recalled his duty in the both the Army Air Force and as a paratrooper, serving 29 months, starting at Casablanca in north Africa.

“I served in 10 countries and fought in six,” he said. “My unit had 371 days on the front line.”

His company commander, first sergeant, platoon sergeant, “and all my buddies,” he said, were killed in action.

“And the Lord brought me home,” Sapp said.

He supports the efforts to give veterans who may need help the appropriate assistance, but as a veteran who spent nearly three years away from home and saw extensive combat in the Mediterranean, Sapp said he was just doing what his country asked.

“My country doesn’t owe my anything,” Sapp said. “That was my duty to serve my country. And I am proud of that.”

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