The Las Animas VFW Auxiliary #2411 is proud to present a “Patriotic Citizen Award” to Veteran Lonnie Wilson, for proudly displaying the American flag 24 hours daily in his beautiful, perfectly manicured yard.

When asked why he flies the American flag, Wilson said, “Because I can, and I want to.”

He also said his flag was getting frayed but is not afraid.

Wilson was presented with a new flag, a Patriotic Citizen Award, and a 50th Anniversary Vietnam Pin.

Wilson served our country in the National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and Marine Corps Special Services for a total of 13 years. He served in Vietnam from June 1966 to June 1967.

While he was in the service, he married Edith Wilson in May of 1968, and they raised three children in the Fort Lyon area – Mike, Cheri and Becky.

Wilson worked at VA Medical Center Fort Lyon for 32 years, until his retirement in 2000. Wilson lost the love of his life, Edie, four years ago, but continues to work hard to keep his place looking awesome and maintaining his great sense of humor.

Wilson’s flagpole is very unique. He bought a big light pole at the scrapyard and converted it into a flagpole, which is very impressive.

The pole has an eagle on top, then the American Flag, then the Marine Corps Flag, and at the bottom of the cement that the pole sets on, there is a plaque stating, “On this site in 1897, nothing happened.”

Wilson also has a beautiful three-foot high eagle sitting on the cement guarding his driveway in front of the flagpole. Wilson said they came home one day and found the eagle sitting in the middle of the driveway, so they found an honored spot for it.

Wilson was born in Lamar and his family moved from Walsh to Bent County when he was in second grade. He attended Rixey School and Las Animas High School, until he was drafted.

While in high school, he joined the National Guard so he assumed when he was drafted, he would be in the Army, but out of 67 soldiers inducted with him, only two were assigned to the Marine Corps, and he was one of the two.

Wilson retired from military service when they closed the Pueblo #19th Special Forces Green Beret Unit and he would have had to travel to Denver for his drills, which got to be too much of a hardship.

Las Animas VFW Auxiliary #2411 thanks Wilson and wants him to know how proud they are of him and his efforts.

If any other fly their U.S. flag daily, let the Auxiliary know.

And as Patriot Day - Sept. 11 - approaches, it’s hoped that others will fly their flags more often.

God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans.