MAYVILLE, N.D. — A 104-year-old veteran in Mayville recently had a surprise ceremony recognizing his many decades with the American Legion.

It's an award reserved for a select few, as many of the current American Legion members are Vietnam-era veterans.

"And to be able to give an award to somebody that was from World War II for 75 consecutive years," explained Keith Williams with American Legion Post 8 in Mayville. "There is just a handful of people that have ever gotten the award."

A group of friends and family came to Lutheran Memorial home in Mayville to honor Walter Rindy for being an American Legion member for 75 consecutive years

"That's a long time!" Rindy exclaimed after being surprised with the award.

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Rindy said he was drafted into World War II at age 25. He spoke about his time in the army all those years ago, preparing to invade Japan — right up until they surrendered.

"I think it was 141 ships, and we landed in Yokohama," Rindy said. "The planes were flying around like a bunch of birds from the carriers. It was a sight you'll never forget."

Some of Rindy's fellow Legion members were at a loss for words. "I feel honored just to be here in your presence," Williams told Rindy.

Rindy's granddaughter called in other family members online. Rindy's son Duane was among the family members who arrived in person.

"You don't see very many World War II people anymore. He's a rock. Always has been," Duane Rindy said.

Having served in World War II, retired from the postal service in 1969, and lived through vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, Walter Rindy was asked how he made it to age 104.

"Well, I don't know," he replied with a hearty laugh. "Fish oil?"

His friends in the Legion hope to someday come back and reward him for 80 years in the Legion.