Lexington, NC -- On Monday, the nation will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr, and on this day, Lexington will honor one of their own, James Harris, a World War II Veteran and leader of the community for his entire life.
Harris is ninety-six years old, and as he prepares to be the Grand Marshal of the parade on Monday, he is humble about it, telling News 2's Patrick Phillippi, "I am just going to go on and do it, I appreciate getting to do it. I've been living here before I went to war, this is my home. I've been living in Lexington all my life."
Harris is an American hero. He shot down planes of enemy fighters during the war, and after returning home, had to face one of the biggest struggles of his life.
While at work, he was caught in a fire at the clothing manufacturing plant he worked for, and was burned on 75% of his body.
Harris says of the experience, "I'm lucky to be sitting here through what I had to go through. I wasn't gonna stand their and get burned up, uh uh, no sir. The good Lord was with me, I'll say that much.
Harris' grandson, Oliver Williams, looks at his grandfather as a hero, saying, "He's just a living example of what you can do regardless of what kind of trials, stumbling blocks that are placed in your path, they can be overcome, they can be overcome."