LINCOLN — A 99-year-old World War II veteran from San Diego visited the Nebraska Capitol on Monday as part of his cross-country tour of all 50 state capitols by his 100th birthday.
Sidney Walton, who served in the China-Burma-India Theater after enlisting in the Army in 1941, was honored by Gov. Pete Ricketts at press conference Monday. The governor presented Walton with an admiralship in the mythical Nebraska Navy, which prompted a burst of laughter from the retired chemical engineer.
“We have a great country,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to be here.”
Walton is trying to travel to all 50 state capitols before Feb. 11 when he turns 100, said his son, Paul Walton, who accompanies his father on the journey. Walton also wants to encourage others to meet and visit with World War II veterans, the youngest of whom are in their 90s.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in the war, about 550,000 are still living, according to the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs. As of 2017, about 3,900 of them lived in Nebraska.
Walton will visit a few other Nebraska communities in coming days before moving on. The list of towns to visit, of course, includes Sidney, his son said.