Pinning ceremony honors 101-year-old WWII veteran

Barbara Hootman

James D. Kennedy, a 101-year-old Black Mountain resident and veteran, was honored during a pinning ceremony from Four Seasons Hospice Care in Flat Rock.

Four Seasons Hospice Care has honored more than 100 veterans and their families since 2014. The veterans are thanked and honored for their military service and reminded that they are valued people. Their military contributions are reaffirmed.

Mildred and James Kennedy Jr. are “proud children of a World War II Army veteran,” Mildred Kennedy said, “and we are grateful to Four Seasons and the Military Officers Association of America for paying special tribute to our dad with a pinning ceremony recognizing his military service to America.”

Kennedy received two medals during the pinning ceremony- a veterans medal and another one from the Army embossed with the U.S. flag.

Kennedy was a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1944-1946 serving in the 643rd Port Company. He was stationed in England and the Philippines. The pinning ceremony was performed by Major Bob Smith, retired U.S. Army, Champlain Michael Lee of Four Seasons Hospice Care, and volunteers with the Veterans North Carolina branch of the Military Officers Association of America.

The ceremony was held in Kennedy’s home in Black Mountain on March 22 with his daughter and son present, along with neighbors and family friends. Music was provided by Emily Keebler of Four Seasons.

“Dad was drafted and left behind his beautiful wife and two small children,” Mildred Kennedy said. “He felt it was his duty as well as an honor to serve his country. My family feels these veterans are finally being given the recognition they deserve.”

She said people can learn more about the 643rd Port Company online. Four Seasons Hospice Service offers pinning ceremonies to veteran/patients in 14 Western North Carolina counties.