JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) – The dream of a local WWII veteran finally came true after 75 years. At the age of 95, he has finally received his Marine dress blues.
Corporal James Cecil put on the suit and sat down with LEX 18 to tell us his story.
"I thank God I made it, I’ve lived a good life," said the veteran.
Corporal Cecil was just "17-and-a-half" when he enlisted in the Marines alongside 18 of his classmates at Lafayette High School in Lexington. He went on to bravely serve in WWII, fighting in some of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific including Okinawa and Saipan. Cecil was promoted to Corporal after killing a Japanese officer. He got a purple heart but tells LEX 18 that he had a lot of close calls.
During all that time, one thing that kept Corporal Cecil going was dreaming of one day wearing Marine dress blues.
"I always said when I got home and it’s all over with, first thing Cecil, you’re going to get yourself a set of blues and have a night on the town," he told LEX 18.
Decades later, after 60 years of marriage, owning a business and raising two sons, he still hadn’t gotten them. That was until his friends at Thomas-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore made it a reality.
"I’m so happy. I can’t believe it happened," he said.
With the assistance of his family and others, Corporal Cecil is now the proud owner of an official set of dress blues.
"I’m tickled to death! I can’t express how happy I am," he told LEX 18.
In 2012, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray proclaimed May 17, Corporal James Cecil Day. Corporal Cecil will don his dress blues next Wednesday for a special pinning ceremony at Thomas Hood Veterans Center at 2:30 p.m.