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Students Honor 100-Year-Old Vet

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A group of local students honored a Cleveland area veteran for his service more than 70 years ago.

Members of the Euclid High School Junior ROTC presented the colors to 100-year-old Raymond Smithisler, of Kirtland, at the David Simpson Hospice House on Friday.

It was their way of honoring and thanking the World War II veteran.

Smithisler said he remembered it was difficult to leave his wife and three children when he was called to serve.

"It was 1940 when I got the letter from the President of the United States, you are invited to join the armed services to go to war to fight for our country," Smithisler said.

Smithisler served four years in the Navy.

"The last one I served on was the Sabelfish. During the war, I was on the 2-12, the 2-42," he said.

Smithisler shared his military experience with the students, and they were eager to hear his stories. He especially recalled the training he received.

"If an airplane happened to knock one of our submarines out of service, I was qualified to take over command and do battle with surfer ships," he said.

"I have a lot of respect for Raymond. I see a lot of my grandfather in him. He was in the Navy," Junior ROTC commanding cadet Oliver Gates said. "I have a lot of respect for Raymond and what he did."

Smithisler said he proudly served and never regretted one day he spent in the Navy.

As for his secret to being 100 years old, he said: "Think of the other man who needs help. Always help the other person."