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When he was a much younger man, Sydney Cole served with the Canadian and American forces and survived captivity by the Nazis. Now the 102-year-old veteran has received his high school diploma and long-time overdue medals.
Back when Hitler was trying to take over Europe, Sydney Cole dropped out of his high school in Buffalo, New York because God had called him to do something bigger. He needed to volunteer to fight against the evil fascist dictator and bring freedom back to the world.
Cole knocked on the door of the U.S. Army Air Corps. But they rejected the brave soul. So, he hopped the border into Canada and joined up with the Canadian Royal Air Force – because Sydney Cole was going to fight the Nazis no matter what it took. He had to answer his calling…
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in the surprise attack, he was discharged by the Royal Candian Air Force. But he wasn’t done. He joined the U.S. Army. The year was 1943.
During the Battle of the Bulge, Cole piloted an artillery observation plane. Cole was serving as a Chief Forward Aerial Observer for the 776th Field Artillery Battalion. His aircraft was shot down in early 1945.
Cole was injured during the crash. And then the Nazis got a hold of him. The next four months of his life were spent enduing hell in a German POW camp. The camp was run by Hitler Youth and was a terrible place to be.
As the war drew to a close, Cole and his fellow prisoners were not treated any better. Together they suffered the hells of wartime imprisonment and managed to escape when the camp was abandoned and later liberated by Russian troops.
Last week, Sydney Cole received his high school diploma along with 10 medals, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal.
This is not the first time Captain Sydney Cole has been involved with Veteran-related festivities in Buffalo, New York.
During Veterans Day 2015, Captain Cole was one of the city’s parade’s grand marshals. 101-years-old at that time, helped lead the parade.
In the video below, you’ll get to see Captain Cole received his diploma and the military service medals. The event was held at the Buffalo VA office. And those in attendance cheered on the wartime hero with glee.
In response, the 102-year-old veteran had a few choice words to say.
“I didn’t expect this. I royally and truly do not think about it.”
While it may have taken America and Buffalo, New York a long time to honor the brave Captain Cole, at least he was able to get the overdue medals and his diploma. For a man who has lived such a long and heroic life, he deserved this great honor.
Veterans need to be treated with more respect in this country. Because they put their lives on the line to fight for freedom, America should provide these brave souls with better benefits and services when they return from active duty.
Do you think America is doing right by our veterans? Or should we step it up and be better?
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