Community salutes WWII veteran for patriotic act

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DURANT, OK-A 91-year-old Atoka county woman was honored Wednesday, not only for her service in World War II, but also for her act of patriotism everyday.

Nothing can stop World War II veteran Julia-Dean Alexander from doing what she does first thing in the morning, she steps out to the front porch of the Heartland Plaza to salute the American flag. That's why she was honored by local veterans for her dedication.

"It makes me very proud. I hope I can do more," she said.

Alexander enlisted in the U.S. Army at the beginning of World War II. She was 21 years old.

"My mother signed the paper for me to go in, dad would never sign it," she said.

As Alexander got into the service, she didn't know what's in store for her. She was sent to Papua New Guinea, where she worked in chemical warfare for two years.

"When I was overseas, this chemical warfare, I did not know the United States of America was building a bomb to drop in Japan," she said.

Months after the bombings, Alexander returned stateside. Since she was discharged from the Army in November 1945, she began a routine to show her allegiance to the country she served.

Rain or shine, every morning, Julia Dean steps out of her room to salute the flag.

That's why the Durant V-F-W awarded Alexander with the inaugural "Patriotic Citizen Award" Wednesday.

"That's a true patriot. She's 91 years old, gets up everyday and salutes the flag," said Jack Accountius, VFW District Commander.

Heartland Plaza Supervisor, Jenny Simmons, nominated Alexander for the award.

"Anytime our flag gets tattered or the wind tears it up, she comes up to me and says 'please get the flag replaced' because she gets up every morning and goes out on our front porch and salutes the American flag," she said.

"It's my life. God placed me here for a reason, for a purpose. What I have to do, honey, is seek that purpose and make sure that I do it each day," Alexander said.

When Alexander returned to the U.S. in 1945, she began her second semester at SOSU back when it was still called the Southeastern State Teachers College. She graduated in 1951 and went on to teach kids in Oklahoma, Texas and California during her career.

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