MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. — U.S. Marine Corps PFC Walter Lasota has always been quiet about his time fighting in World War II.
"I don't speak too much about my service," he said. "I sort of keep it all to myself. Once in a while I'll talk a little bit but not much."
At 95 years old, he's realizing, maybe he should. After all, so few are left to tell stories like his. The Marine Corps veteran helped invade Okinawa and was wounded in action twice.
"I wouldn't do it all over again," he shared, "but I'm proud of what we accomplished."
He and his regiment mastered the art of surprise, but a gathering on Saturday was a surprise for him.
"I thought we were coming for something else, and here I never realized it was for me," he said.
"He's a national treasure in our community," said Rocco DeCamillo, an Exeter Township police officer and a decorated U.S. Marine Corps sergeant major.
DeCamillo is also big on remembering those who sacrificed it all for this country so long ago.
Lasota's service was honored during a ceremony at the Muhlenberg Township municipal building.
"He's worthy of the recognition, and I'm a student of history and I can't wait to get in there and talk to him about his experiences, because we also share that common bond," said Decamillo.
For Lasota's children, who've longed to hear more about his service, it means something extra special to celebrate their father. They said they're so proud of him.
"We know very little about his service," said his son, said Walter S. Lasota. "We know when he entered, what age he was and that he thought in Okinawa, but he's been fairly quiet to his children."
All good things take time, and sometimes, good things come to those who wait.
"Passing it on to them so that they know what it took to make this country," Lasota said. "The people that sacrificed to make sure that we were still the United States of America and hopefully we remain that way."