WWII Veteran Celebrates Birthday in Topeka

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Sharitt Baker is a Navy man.

He was on the U.S.S. Ralph Tablot on Dec. 7th, 1941 and the 99-year-old wanted to see his pieces of history one more time for his birthday wish.

During his afternoon excursion to the Kansas Historical Society Friday, Baker was able to see all of the artifacts that used to be in his room at Legend Assisted Living.

Stacks of black and white photographs of ships, complete and partially built, medals, plaques and even one of his favorites, a commission to the U.S. Navy from President Harry Truman himself.

“I never thought a President would do something like that,” Baker said.

And although he loved seeing his old photos, the thing Baker couldn’t stop talking about was his ride to the museum.

He was taken from Legend down Wanamaker with a motorcycle escort.

“It was the ride of my life,” he said.

But when he got to the museum, he went to see one of his and the society’s most important pieces.

The tattered flag that flew on the Talbot the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

The edges of the flag are tattered, the seams are worn and the colors are dark and browned but Baker’s memory of how he saved that piece of history are still crisp.

“I, I took care of the colors alright. I was proud of them,” Baker said.

In order to keep the flag, Baker had to ask – or maybe convince – another sailor to break protocol.

“He said ‘I can’t do that.’ Then he looked at me kind of funny and handed them to me and said ‘well hide them! Do something with them,'” Baker said.

Baker’s wife a month ago and the staff at Legend was hoping to make his wish come true so that his birthday was something special.

“I guess it’s because this is the last birthday I’ll ever have,” he said because he misses his wife and he knows it’s time.

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