Richard Overton, 107, of Austin, is believed to be America's oldest living World War II veteran. He had planned to spend Memorial Day quietly at home with close friends. However, that changed for about half an hour when his front porch turned into a meeting place between him and Governor Rick Perry.
Overton served in the Army during WWII. He was sent to Pearl Harbor just days following Japan's attack on the United States. He said he considers himself lucky to have lived through his time in the military.
"Shot over my head, between my legs, around my ears and everything, but it wasn't my day to go. If it's your day to go you're going I don't care what happens."
Nearly 70 years after WWII, Overton is still going strong. He still keeps up his yard himself and is able to drive. He attributes his longevity to staying active.
"I don't take medicine. I don't have no sick spells. I don't have no headache," he said.
While he's survived a lot and seen sights many haven't, he's never had a governor come to his front door. That changed on Memorial Day after Honor Flight Austin helped arrange a meeting between Overton and Perry. The two sat and talked Monday afternoon about Overton's time overseas.
At the end of the meeting Perry offered Overton a Challenge Coin, which is a military tradition, and a bottle of whiskey and box of cigars. Overton says even at 107, he enjoys whiskey in his coffee each morning.
Both were moved by each other's presence.
"Something I've never done before. First in life. Appreciate him," said Overton.
"Coming over here and seeing the oldest veteran in the world. That's pretty cool," said Perry.
Honor Flight Austin makes it possible for WWII veterans to fly free of charge to Washington D.C. to see the WWII memorial. There are still about a thousand WWII vets living in the Austin area who have not seen the memorial. You can help them do that by donating to Honor flight Austin. Just go to honorflightaustin.org for more information.