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100-year-old WWII veteran receives special honor for his service

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It was a special day for a member of the Greatest Generation. A 100-year-old World War II veteran received a distinguished service medal from the state of New Jersey.

Video Transcript

RICK WILLIAMS: Today was a very special, emotional day for a member of the greatest generation.

SHARRIE WILLIAMS: That's right. A 100-year-old World War II veteran received a Distinguished Service Medal from the state of New Jersey. Alicia is here with that story.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And just to hear Sidney Finkle speak is so powerful. He served in the US Navy during World War II as an aviation ordinance man third class. Today, he was honored for that service. And the moment came with great emotion and great reflection for the veteran, who was choked up with tears.

SIDNEY FINKLE: There are thousands of people that they served the same thing, thousands of them. I'm honored that I'm one of the thousands. Thank you.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Sidney here sitting side by side with his wife of 72 years, Jean, at Brandywine Assisted Living in Pennington, Mercer County. Jean says she's so proud of him, and calls him a sweetheart. After his service, Sidney managed the popular Tracy's Five and Dime in Trenton, where he was lovingly known as "Mr. Tracy," even though he's technically Mr Finkle. While he never served as a public official, family and friends say it still kind of feels that way.

GRACE FINKLE: His nickname is "the mayor of Brandywine," because whenever there would be somebody new coming in, they would have to talk to my dad. And he would tell them all about Brandywine and help them with anything they needed.

STAN SAPERSTEIN: He's always trying to help people. He talks to everybody, tries to cheer people up. And he's-- he's just a great person.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Here's a photo of Sidney on his 100th birthday last summer. He turns 101 on July 16. He was an avid golfer until the age of 95. And truly a member of our greatest generation. So congratulations on this distinction today, Mr Finkle.

RICK WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Thank him for his service. Thank you, Alicia.