HENDERSON, L.a — 99-year-old Major Addy Melancon was celebrated for his lifetime of military service on Sunday at his family home in Henderson.
Surrounded by family and friends, Melancon told KATC he is proud of his time in the service -- six years in the U.S. Army, starting when he was 17 in 1940, followed by 18 more years served in the National Guard.
"I'm proud to say that I've served that time," Melancon said. "Not everyone can say that, there's not too many left that I know of."
Melancon received recognition and awards from government officials like State Representative Mike Huval (R-District 46), but one particular honor was being named a "living legend" by the Acadian Museum in Erath.
Warren Perrin is the Chairman of the museum's board. He told KATC that many veterans like Melancon don't like to receive recognition for their service and see it as more of an obligation than something to take pride in.
"He brings to us a spirit of pride for having used that Cajun language that was against the law to speak in public buildings or schools in Louisiana for over 50 years," Perrin said. "But those men that served proved that it was an invaluable resource that helped us win the war."
Melancon is the last living member of his outfit -- the U.S. Army's 26th Recon. He credits the sharing of cigars and brandy as the reason he ended up being stationed in Europe as opposed to elsewhere.
Using his native Cajun French, he served as an interpreter for Army Generals. He also said he's a member of the longest armored drive in the history of warfare in which his outfit made it through 186 miles in a single day -- a drive which he humbly noted he was often the head of.
Melancon's great-granddaughter Emily Hardy was in attendance at Sunday's celebration. She told KATC that her great-grandfather is a major role model to her on her journey, as she said is following in his footsteps and making strides toward working in the National Guard at 22 years old.
"Me and him are like the only ones in our family that have actually pursued a military career," Hardy said. "So it only felt right for someone to, you know, continue his legacy and I felt like I was a good fit for it."
Melancon said he is fully supportive of Hardy's choice in career path and that he sees a lot of himself in her.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers