MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Many in-person Fourth of July celebrations and firework shows have been canceled this year due to COVID-19, but in Martinsville, the community made an exception by holding a small recognition ceremony for a local World War II veteran.
“It’s just a small celebration for a mighty-big day,” said Mayor Kathy Lawson.
It was more than just a celebration of the birth of our nation at the Uptown Martinsville Farmers Market on Saturday, July 4. City leaders and citizens wanted to extend their gratitude toward long-time resident John McCain for his service in World War II.
“He’s just an amazing man, and we were very thankful today to be able to honor and celebrate him,” Lawson said.
“It meant a whole lot,” McCain said. “I never expected it.”
McCain served as a lineman in the Army signal corps, running supplies and laying down communication lines for Allied Forces during World War II.
“I drove trucks all over Germany and part of France and a little bit of Belgium,” McCain described.
He was honored with an American flag and a letter from Congressman Morgan Griffith. McCain is one of the only WWII veterans left of the American Legion Homer Dillard post in Martinsville.
In addition, of those remaining veterans, McCain is the only one who still drives on his own. He, of course, made the drive Saturday morning to show his love for his country and the Fourth of July.
“It means everything,” McCain said. “I mean, I never thought I’d live this long. I’ve been blessed.”
The 93 year-old veteran is grateful to have a community that shows their gratitude for his service, socially distanced and all.
“I tell you, it’s a beautiful town,” he said. “I’m telling you. It may be small, but it’s a beautiful town.”
“It brings comfort that, you know, we can get out, we can celebrate those things that mean something to us and just brings people together in a safe environment,” Lawson said.
On top of the ceremony, city leaders placed 165 flags throughout uptown Martinsville.
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