BRANDON, Vt. (WCAX) At his home in Brandon, Burt Reynolds is proud to fly Old Glory. But there is another flag that is dear to his heart.
"If you ever go by a house that has a Marine family in it, you'll find a flag," Reynolds said.
Reynolds joined the Marines at just 17. "I look like a 12-year-old," he says, showing a photograph.
The world was at war and Reynolds was off to an adventure of a lifetime. "That's the happiest thing I did in my life," he said. "We was hoping the war would last so we could get in it."
After basic training he was shipped off to the Pacific. "I'm a great guy for dates. I could tell you every date of every battle in the Pacific," Reynolds said.
His battle was in late October of 1944. It was the invasion of the Phillipines to take it back from the Japanese.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You were the tough guys.
Burt Reynolds: Well, we were there, we're the Marines... I wasn't a hero, wasn't wounded, I just went over there and did whatever they told me.
But there were close calls. "I'm wondering why that banana tree is smoking. And about that time I looked up and this Zero had come over. He had been straffing and he missed me by 5-feet," Reynolds said. "And we got bombed all the time too."
The Americans retook the Phillippines and Reynolds went on to fight in other parts of the Pacific. By 1945 the war was over. "Basically, the best way to discribe it was, I did my job -- that's all I look at it," he said.
After the war, he married, raised a family, divorced, and after a long career in the telephone company in California, he decided to make Vermont his home.
Now 93, Reynolds lives with his sister, Patti. But his days of helping his fellow veterans are far from over. "I'm very proud of them," he said.
Reynolds is the commander of the American Legion post in Brandon. He's been honored as Vermont Legionaire of the Year, and to top it off he's also a chaplain, presiding over dozens of veterans funerals in the area. "It's hard to get people to realize how sacred they are," he said.
Pine Hill Cemetery in Brandon is where many veterans lay, their service is noted with an American flag. "I think everyone should know what happened," Reynolds said.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Any concern at your age that this is too much for you?
Burt Reynolds: Oh no, I thrive on it.
A service to country and brothers-in-arms that continues.