92-year-old veteran receives long-awaited American flag

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Every U.S. Army soldier is able to receive an American flag when they retire, but one soldier from the Pine Belt did not receive one when he retired over 60 years ago. That changed Wednesday.

CSM (Ret.) Jack Thornton served in the United States Army from February 1946 to February 1957. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officer rank that can be reached in the Army.

He shares the honor with Kevin Kelly, the councilman-elect for Ward 2 in Laurel.

“When you have 0.8% of people who enter the Army to make that, with both of us sharing that, that was just something else besides jumping out of airplanes and being in the Army together that we both share,” Kelly said.

But, there was one thing they did not have in common. After retiring from the Army, Kelly received a flag. Thornton did not.

“Whenever I met him, one of the things we talked about was first we talked about jumping out of airplanes together, and he was like, ‘The only thing that I regret is I never got a flag when I retired from the Army,’” Kelly said.

Kelly called his brother, U.S. Congressman Trent Kelly, and asked him to fly an American flag over the U.S. Capitol in Thornton’s honor. On Wednesday, the councilman presented that flag to the 92-year-old veteran.

It’s safe to say receiving the flag meant a lot to Thornton.

“The highest honor outside other things that I have been awarded,” Thornton said.

He says he is thankful for the support.

“I thank this country for putting up with me and God being in the path of righteousness. And to Laurel, my home and I love my home state,” Thornton said.

Thornton was last stationed in Frankfurt, Germany.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.