ELIZABETH, Colo. (CBS4) – Retired SFC Odell “Jack” Plylar, a Colorado World War II veteran, recently crossed an item off his bucket list when he met President Donald Trump. When he shook the hand of a sitting president, the local hero remembered exactly why he put his life on the line for this country roughly 80 years ago.
“I thank God every day for being here, for getting up in the morning,” said Plylar.READ MORE: Colorado's Comeback: Fans Return For Concerts At Red Rocks
In the 97 years he’s been on this earth, the World War II veteran has witnessed some of the greatest triumphs and defeats in World War history.
“We (the survivors) lucked out,” Plylar said. “We lost some good friends there.”
Even though his painful past is sometimes hard to talk about, Plylar said he is not afraid to speak his mind and show off his dry sense of humor.
“I say what I think,” said Plylar. “Sometimes it gets me in trouble. I guess I can continue on for 110. That’s what I am shooting for. I hope I can make it!”
When he was 17, Plylar enlisted in the Army National Guard during World War II.READ MORE: 'Forever Chemicals' Levels In Frisco Drinking Water Would Be Illegal In Three Other States, Residents 'Shocked'
“Germany, Hitler. He thought he was going to rule the world and the one in Japan,” he said. “But they were mistaken.”
According to Plylar, it was during that time he and his fellow men fought one of the toughest battles of their lives.
“The Battle of the Bulge was the hardest one,” he said. “I thought for a minute there we wasn’t going to make it, but we did. We kicked them. They left, and that was the turn of the war.”
Since that major victory, the local hero has been keeping a very close eye on our country, and he told CBS4 he has always been a fan of Trump.
“We’ve had some good presidents, but I’ll tell you right now. I think he’s the best we’ve had since Franklin Roosevelt. Franklin D. Roosevelt. I sure did want to meet that man and shake his hand.”
Sure enough, thanks to the Elbert County Young Republicans, Plylar got to meet the president face-to-face at Peterson Air Force Base.MORE NEWS: 'Super Carriers' CU Boulder Study Shows How Asymptomatic People Spread Disease
“I was the happiest person in the world to get to shake his hand,” said Plylar.