ROGERS, Ark. (KFSM) -- Veterans Day may have come and gone, but the service of a Northwest Arkansas veteran was remembered on this Thanksgiving Day.
James Oden served in the military for 27 years. He fought in World War II, the Korean War and did two tours in the Vietnam War.
He was surprised Thursday (Nov. 22) with a ceremony honoring his service.
"I had no idea that this was going on," James said. "I just wanted Raylene and my daughter Nancy and son-in-law Keith to come out and meet these wonderful folks out here at [VFW[ 3031."
Raylene, his wife of nearly seven decades, said she was grateful he remains by her side today.
"I am thankful for him and that he came back from all the times he got up in the air flying in a helicopter," she said. "He flew the largest helicopter the free world had and he at least made it home, thank God. I miss the guys that didn't make it home that we knew."
His friend, Kay Beachamp, commended Oden's service by presenting him with a plaque and jacket, while also offering an emotional speech on a man he has come to call a great friend.
"I was 15 years old when he went into service and I didn't know him at the time, but I looked up to him all these years and so forth and I think he is a solid individual and I just have a lot of love and respect for him and his family," he said.
When looking back on his service, Oden says he has no regrets.
"It's been a long 28 years that I served. Would I do it again? Probably so, it was fun while it lasted," he said.
Oden said out of everything, he is most thankful for his family that he was able to come home to all those years.