99-year-old veteran James Carson honored at Arab’s homecoming

99-year-old veteran James Carson was honored before Arab’s homecoming game Friday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

ARAB, Ala. – Friday night was homecoming for the Arabian Knights but before they kicked things off, both crowds were in for a special treat. There was a very special guest who joined the team captains and officials at the coin toss: 99-year-old Army veteran James Carson.

He began his military career in 1943 while being assigned to the Fighting 69th Infantry Division. It was formed in Hattiesburg, MS in 1943 and deployed to England in December 1944. In late January 1945, the Fighting 69th landed at the French port of Le Havre and quickly advanced into Belgium in support of the Battle of the Bulge, under the command of General Patton. In February of 1945, the 69th pushed into Germany, and by late March, had crossed the Rhine River and begun its drive eastward to Saxony, where it captured the city of Leipzig on April 19th. Less than a week later, the division made contact with Soviet armed forces at Torgau. It was through the liberation where Mr. Carson saw the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps firsthand.

Upon completion of his tour in Germany, Mr. Carson returned to Arab, where he currently resides. He was in the Infantry Division for three years. He spent a total of six years in the military and seven and a half years in the state militia. He will turn 100 on November 22nd. Mr. Carson, thank you for serving our country and for all of the sacrifices that you made to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.

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