100-year-old World War II veteran receives special honor for his service

PENNINGTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It was a special day for a member of the Greatest Generation.

A 100-year-old World War II veteran received a distinguished service medal from the State of New Jersey.

Sidney Finkle served in the U.S. Navy during WWII as an aviation ordinance man third class.

On Thursday, he was honored for his service. The moment came with great emotion and great reflection for the veteran.

"There are thousands of people that served the same thing, thousands of them," Finkle said. "I am honored that I am one of the thousands. Thank you."

Finkle and his wife of 72 years, Jean, live at Brandywine Assisted Living in Pennington, New Jersey.

Jean says she's so proud of him and calls him a sweetheart.

After his service, Finkle managed the popular Tracy's Five and Dime in Trenton, Jersey, where he was lovingly known as 'Mr. Tracy.'

While he never served as a public official, family and friends say it still feels that way.

"His nickname is the 'Mayor of Brandywine,'" said his daughter, Dr. Grace Finkle. "Whenever there would be somebody new coming in, they would have to talk to my dad. He would help them with anything they need."

Sydney turns 101 on July 16.
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