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Centennial veteran remembers WWII

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SPRING HOPE — Lifelong Spring Hope resident Roscoe Joyner survived a plane crash and combat in Europe during World War II. He turned 100 earlier this year.

“I spent two years in Europe and didn’t get a scratch on me,” Joyner said. “But I crashed in South Carolina.”

The crash came during a training exercise at Fort Jackson in Columbia. After recovering from the near-fatal crash, Joyner found himself in the middle of action in France, Austria and other countries.

He served in the Army from 1941-46 as an Army air observer. After his honorable discharge, he returned home to sell tractors.

Monday marks Joyner’s 73rd year celebrating Veterans Day as a veteran. He’s also been a Freemason for the past 70 years.

Joyner said he’s seen a lot of people come and go in southern Nash County over the decades.

Joyner has served in every position possible at Central Cross Lodge 187, which is across from Peachtree Baptist Church on N.C. 581. The lodge is one of the few things in the area still standing older than Joyner, having formed in 1856.

Joyner said he’s proud of being a veteran and a Freemason. He said he loves his country.

Monday is about veterans like Joyner who served honorably in the Armed Forces. Founded in 1926 to commemorate the end of World War I, the holiday was expanded in 1945 to include all veterans.

“I don’t consider myself a hero. I just did what had to be done,” said Joyner, a member of the Greatest Generation, a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to define Americans shaped by the Great Depression who became the primary participants in World War II.

Joyner turned 100 on March 11. He said he looks forward to another birthday and another Veterans Day in 2020.

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