Columbia Legion honors WWII veterans


Pictured, from left, are World War II veterans Charles Lepp, Robert Brown, Norman Wessel, Roy Trexler and Norman Schmidt during a ceremony held Saturday at the Columbia American Legion. (Corey Saathoff photo)

In recognition of the American Legion’s 100th anniversary as a national organization, Columbia American Legion Post 581 honored five local World War II veterans on Saturday for their service to this country.

Each of the veterans offered accounts of their service and were presented certificates. 

“These guys have been through things. They have stories,” Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson said during his welcome. “It truly is the Greatest Generation.”

Robert W. Brown, 92, said he was born in Modoc and graduated from Red Bud High School in 1945 before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps.

“I was waiting to be drafted any day,” he said. “I’d spent the night of Aug. 14 in a St. Louis hotel. Got up the next morning, walked out on Olive Street and there seemed to be a lot of excitement in the street. Cars were blowing their horns, people were shouting. I said to a guy on the sidewalk, ‘What’s all the excitement?’ And he said to me: ‘The war is over.’ It kind of still gets me.”

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