Twenty nine veterans honored at The Terrace First Colony Sugar Land

By Betsy Dolan 

Bill Smith who served during World War II with the U.S. Navy proudly displays a pin honoring him for his service at a Veterans Day celebration at The Terrace at First Colony.

It was 1942 and World War II had begun. Blondina Porter had just finished nursing school and was looking for adventure and a chance to see the world.

“I decided to enlist in the Navy and was a flight nurse for six years,” Porter said.

Stationed in China, the Philipines, the Lucian Islands, and Guam, Porter got her wish to see the world and much more.

“I was on the plane bringing the boys who had been hurt in the Western Pacific to the hospital in Guam,” Porter recalled. “Then a crew based out of Hawaii would take them the rest of the way home.”

Porter’s flight wings were part of a Veterans Day memorabilia display and celebration Monday at The Terrace at First Colony. Twenty-nine residents were honored for their service including Lt. Colonel Hugh Farmer who wore his Army dress uniform to the celebration.

“On Veteran’s Day, our nation remembers the proud legacy and selflessness and sacrifice,” Executive Director Justin Morin read from a letter written by President Obama.

Lanny Martinson, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Sugar Land, was the celebration’s special guest. Martinson, who lost a leg in combat, has made headlines around the world with the story of his lost dog tag being found in Vietnam more than 30 years after it went missing.

“It isn’t about losing a piece of metal. It’s about the kindness of strangers who helped him get his dog tag back,” said Lonnie Barker, a Terrace resident who introduced Martinson.

The 29 veterans were presented pins from their specific branch of the military and were honored in a “then and now” slide show. Many expressed their gratitude at the appreciation people now show to veterans.

“I was dang lucky to have been stationed stateside during the war,” said Bill Smith who served in the Navy during World War II and was a radar equipment instructor in Corpus Christi. “But the way some veterans were treated during Vietnam was disgraceful. I’m glad it is better now.”

At the end of the celebration, the crowd sang God Bless America and then observed a moment of silence for those who never came home.

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