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Memorial Day is a time to honor our fallen service members. That’s who Texas veteran Horace Hamilton calls the real heroes. But Horace himself is pretty great too.

Inside Hamilton’s home are reminders of his time in the Navy.

“Four years and three months and 27 days.” Hamilton joined the Navy when he was 17 years old.

“I was 17 June the second. Eleven days later on Friday, June the 13th, I joined the Navy. After boot camp they sent me to Pearl Harbor,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

“What do I remember about Pearl Harbor? I remember a lot of things about Pearl Harbor. I remember being caught by surprise, and then when all the bombings started and it all hit, we just did what we were trained to do. We’d been trained to go to our battle stations and try to repel the enemy,” said Hamilton.

He’ll tell you he’s lucky because he survived. Today, Hamilton is the only Pearl Harbor veteran left in Burleson County, Texas.

“It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I’m just fortunate that I’ve lived this long, but no, I’m not anybody special. I regret that all the others have passed on,” said Hamilton.

This year he turns 96 years old, but he’ll celebrate it without his greatest love.

“I was married 69 years and that’s a lifetime. I haven’t gotten over it yet. I still cry,” said Hamilton.

People from all over have stepped in. They send him birthday cards.

“I appreciate what they’re doing. Yes, I really do. Birthday is just a date that tells you that you’re getting older,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton says there is no secret to reaching your 90s.

“There is no secret. It’s just that the good Lord is not ready for me yet, I guess, or the other guy don’t want me. I don’t know,” said Hamilton.

Horace Hamilton’s birthday is on June 2. If you would like to send him a birthday card, you send it to this address:

P.O. Box 1281
Caldwell, TX 77836