At 107 years old, it seems Elmer Hill of Henderson is the oldest living World War II veteran, but he's not. Richard Overton of Austin has that honor, but not by much.
Hill remembers the Second World War like it was yesterday.
Elmer Hill's picture hangs on the Emeritus Assisted Living Center's Wall of Honor in Henderson, Texas, and there everyone knows him.
He put himself through college, and was the principal of Henderson Negro High School when he was drafted in 1942. He soon found himself aboard the USS Saginaw Bay as a cook and part of a gun crew watching for kamikaze planes.
"They didn't seem to mind about where he [the kamikaze pilot] was going, they were not worried about that kind of thing. Once they got out there they would give you all the trouble they could, because I guess he didn't feel like he was going to go back home, anyway," Elmer recalled.
On Veteran's Day 2013 Elmer waited patiently with his peers for a bus ride back to Emeritus. He had just attended a ceremony at the Henderson V.F.W.
He feels the ceremonies are not so much for him as they are for those who didn't make it home.
"It didn't happen to me, but a lot of them didn't have a chance to come back. I didn't get hurt. I didn't get hurt, I went in all right and I came out all right I think," Elmer revealed.
Still all right enough to mow his yard on Tuesdays, even though he doesn't stay at his house right now. He doesn't want to worry his family so he's in assisted living.
"I'm not old, I've just been here a long time," Elmer concluded.
He's been here since August 6, 1906, the second oldest living WWII Veteran. He missed being the oldest by three months, but he doesn't really care about that, especially since they're both Texans.
Elmer Hill is the last of twelve brothers, and says the secret to his longevity is living a good clean life, and trusting in the Lord.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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