LAKE CITY, AR (KAIT) - It was a full room crowded with family, friends, guests, and the mayor of Lake City, Jon Milligan, as they celebrated the 96th birthday of a Purple Heart Veteran, Reverend Raymond Clark.
Rev. Clark was just turning 25 on December 25th, when he fought in the Battle of Bulge, a war that lasted from Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 16, 1945.
Rev. Clark was fighting in the largest battle fought on the Western Front in Europe during World War II. It is also reported to be the largest battle ever fought by the United States Army.
The veteran now resides in Lake City, where he celebrated his 96th birthday in good spirits as he sat with his wife, Rosa Clark. The couple have been happily married for 78 years.
After being awarded a proclamation for his service by the mayor, Rev. Clark shared a piece of his experience fighting in the war and also being a hero to a young boy, who he found drowning in a river.
"I saved his life, something that I've never forgotten," he said. "Of course, I had to put my life in danger to get him, but when you're in the army, your brothers are your life and you'll give your life for them and I'm glad that I served, that's just part."
Rev. Clark also said President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President of the United States while he was serving in WWII, but Roosevelt later died and President Harry Truman took over.
Clark said he was glad when he received the news that they got a new President, so he could be discharged and begin spending time with his family.
"They tried to get me to stay in but I said 'no, I got three children at home I need to be there and work with them.'"
Mayor Milligan said he's known Rev. Clark for over 30 years and said he's always been a kind and humbled man who impacted the Lake City Community.
"I had two World War II Veterans here and one of them sadly passed away," Milligan said. "Mr. Clark ,a 96-year-old, also been married 78 years and they're such great people. I thought we needed to do something to recognize him and his wife Rosa. And I'm just tickled everybody showed up, and he gets the recognition that he deserves. It's not about us at all, it's about Mr. Clark."
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