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WWII veteran sings National Anthem at White Sox game

By Rebecca Pepin, rpepin@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 01 2013 08:26:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2013 03:26:52 PM CDT

A 90-year-old WWII veteran from Marion was in the spotlight tonight as he sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

BRISTOL, Va. -

The Bristol White Sox had a special guest sing the National Anthem at Monday night's game.

Gordon Widener is a 90-year-old World War II veteran from Marion, Virginia.

While the White Sox players got warmed up for the game, Widener warmed up for his big moment in the spotlight.

"(I would) sit back and watch other people out there singing the anthem and i would just say to myself, 'Now Gordon, why aren't you out there doing that? You can do it, why aren't you doing it?'" said Widener.

He had an entourage of supporters at the game, including his niece Bunni Olinger.

"He's not a bit nervous," said Olinger. "Musical talent runs in the Widener family."

It is fitting this Independence Day week to have a veteran sing this country's anthem.

"We went across shortly after D-day and we supplied the 3rd Army, General Patton's 3rd Army with ammunition from that time until war's end," said Widener. "I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to have a part in preserving the liberty and the freedom that this nation has been able to have and can enjoy for 67 years now since the end of World War II."

Now Widener is giving back by singing the National Anthem.  He also sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion on Memorial Day.

"Ninety years old; I hope I've got enough air to sing the National Anthem when I'm ninety years old," said Olinger.