U.S. Marine Carl Spurlin Dekel, who fought in World War II, had a special message for his fellow Americans as he turned 100 years old. Sadly, he broke down crying over the current state of our country.
Much of what American soldiers fought for in World War II has “gone down the drain,” according to U.S. Marine Carl Spurlin Dekel, who was interviewed as he celebrated his 100th birthday. Dekel says serving his country in WWII was the most important thing he ever did, according to Fox 13. But, he was far from happy about our country’s current state of affairs.
The veteran and Silver Star holder said he wouldn’t hesitate to put his life on the line again, but he regrets that the U.S. has slipped away from what he remembers. “People don’t realize what they have,” Dekel said. “The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain.”
The decorated Marine went on to explain he doesn’t recognize this country. “We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all,” Dekel said as he broke down crying. “Nobody will have the fun I had. Nobody will have the opportunity I had. It’s just not the same and that’s not what our boys, that’s not what they died for.”
According to Fox 13, the 100-year-old veteran went by many nicknames through his years — Buddy, Deke, Spur, to name a few. But, he knows himself as a Marine and an American. Dekel went to war in September 1940. “They shipped me straight out to Guantánamo, which was a Navy base, and put me in a machine gun company,” Dekel recalled.
Among his many commendations, awards, and medals, Carl Spurlin Dekel said his “pride and joy” is his Silver Star. “It says ‘gallantry in action,’” Dekel said, pointing to the star hanging over two rows of medals on his dress blues. “It was an honor for me to serve my country and if I had to do it again and I was the same age, I would do it. I guarantee you,” he added. As fondly as he spoke of his memories of fighting for his country, Dekel admitted how difficult the struggles really were.
“We were scared all the time. I don’t care what anybody says. We were vulnerable all the time, since Pearl Harbor, particularly,” Dekel said, adding he was blessed to be brought home when so many died and that he tries not to question why. In the many years since the WWII veteran left the military, he has continued to make service his life mission, donating to food banks and participating in his church community.
Dekel said he strives to always maintain a positive outlook, but sometimes reflects on the good in life and weighs it against the sacrifices made for it. He added that does hope current and future generations are able to appreciate the sacrifices of those before them.
The Marine, who made it to 100 years old, also gave some positive advice. “You just remember everything’s beautiful and live every day to the fullest. Just enjoy everything you possibly can,” he said. “And here I sit at 100. They tell me I’m 100. I don’t believe it sometimes. Because I don’t need to worry about age. I’m not going to, I just keep on keeping on.”
Dekel’s statements came the same day the U.S. lost the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from WWII. Hershel “Woody” Williams, died at 98 years old. Williams, also a U.S. Marine, received his medal for heroism from former President Harry Truman during the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
Williams echoed Dekel’s sentiment of loss during an interview on Memorial Day in 2022, remarking to local media that he hoped to see a resurgence of patriotism in the U.S. “I’ve been at this probably 25 to 30 times, but I believe today we had more honor wreaths than we’ve ever had before, and that’s encouraging,” Williams said during a veterans’ event. “It gives me encouragement that we’re coming back and that we will again be that United States of America that had so much patriotism and love of country.”