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A soon-to-be Mississippi city councilman helped a fellow veteran obtain the one thing he always wanted but never got: an American flag following his retirement. 

Jack Thornton, 92, retired from active duty more than 60 years ago following a decade of service in the U.S. Army, from 1946 to 1957. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major (CSM), the highest non-commissioned officer rank in the Army. 

He would often tell Kevin Kelly, Laurel councilman-elect for Ward 2, that he regretted never getting a flag. Kelly, also a retired CSM, understood Thornton’s disappointment. 

“When you have 0.8% of people who enter the Army to make that … that was just something else besides jumping out of airplanes and being in the Army together that we both share,” Kelly said told WDAM. 

“Whenever I met him, one of the things we talked about was first we talked about jumping out of airplanes together, and he was like, ‘The only thing that I regret is I never got a flag when I retired from the Army,’” he told the station.

Kelly reached out to his brother, Congressman Trent Kelly, R-Miss., and requested a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in Thornton’s honor, which was then presented to the veteran on Wednesday. 

Thornton called the flag “the highest honor” he has received. 

“I thank this country for putting up with me and God being in the path of righteousness. And to Laurel, my home and I love my home state,” Thornton said.

Kelly hailed Thorton as “a great man,” saying in a post on Facebook about the tribute that it was an honor to call him “a fried and Brother-in-Arms.”

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