BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans in the U.S.
An annual pancake breakfast in Brewer honors hundreds of veterans every year on Veterans Day.
With so many veterans comes an auditorium full of history. Hundreds of veterans and hundreds of stories from several different wars.
So how to pick one story to tell?
How about the oldest one....
Meet Med Cotton. A very funny old man, who is 95-years-old, the self-proclaimed oldest man in Hermon, and a World War II veteran.
“When you left the house, you never knew when you were coming back, and to survive World War II, you had to be very, very lucky," Cotton said. "And I was very, very lucky."
He visits the Brewer Pancake Breakfast for Veterans every year.
He shared with NEWS CENTER what life was like 70 years ago, including a special skill that he said saved his life.
“One of the things that did get me through was that I could do shorthand,” he said. So, how did writing shorthand save Cotton's life?
“I got a break,” he said. “They needed a secretary for the acting general. And I was able to qualify for it.”
A job that he admits was embarrassing to take. ”Back years ago, shorthand was a sissies thing to do,” he said. “Sissy job. But it saved my life.”
And a job that at times was incredibly difficult.
“Unfortunately, I had to do all the death certificates of my classmates,” he said.
But Cotton said he feels lucky to be alive to tell his story and to receive the thanks that veterans deserve.
Making other veterans laugh on their special day with his age-old wisdom and wit.