World War II Veteran part of Fourth of July celebration

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CORDOVA, Tenn. -- Carl Coker enlisted in the Marines two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and fought in three major battles in the South Pacific and Solomon as well as the Korean War.

During a Independence Day Celebration in Cordova Friday,  he was recognized as a true American war hero.

"I don't know how to act. I'm just a World War II Marine and always will be," said Coker.

In 1944, Coker found a Japanese flag inside a dead Japanese soldier's helmet and took it as a war trophy.

Two years ago, News Channel 3 was with Coker when he returned that flag to the Japanese to take back to their country.

The 93-year-old has also written a book about his life as a Marine.

"I'm remember the wars," said Coker.

Of the 16 million who fought during World War II, there are just more than one million still living.

Those taking part in celebrations in Cordova said they felt lucky to honor one of them on this day.

"I'm very proud of him, very proud," said Ginger Simmons, Coker's daughter.

According to the Veteran's Administration, our WWII vets are dying at a rate of about 550 a day.