CATAWBA, Va. – 98 going on 50 — that’s how Donnie Noel describes his dad, World War II veteran Marion Noel.
“Oh he’s a hoot,” Donnie said.
Marion served in the Navy as a third-class motor machinist during World War II.
Saturday, he was honored at the barn museum owned by fellow veteran Lee Anthony in Catawba.
“Once in a lifetime chance to hear that story,” Anthony said.
Marion shared about his time in the Navy — including how his ship carried the flag photographed in the famous battle of Iwo Jima.
It’s a story Marion says he didn’t think he’d get the opportunity to tell.
“I wondered if it would ever come about. We’re talking about something that happened 70-some years ago,” Marion said.
At the museum, Anthony houses memorabilia from wars all across U.S. history.
Saturday, Marion presented him with a special flag for the museum.
“It was 48 stars. Which was the match and the type of flag that we gave the Marines to hoist on Mount Suribachi,” Marion said.
Donnie says his dad holds a history that very few people are alive to tell.
“When they leave, it’s like a library closing. All of their memories, all of their experiences, that goes with them. To show what their sacrifices were is something I feel like we need to do, because freedom isn’t free,” Donnie said.
For Marion, presenting the flag means continuing to show his love for his country over 70 years later.
“It makes you more patriotic,” Marion said.