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'Today, the world lost a truly great patriot,' Son reflects on Sidney Walton's legacy

Sidney Walton
Posted at 7:12 PM, Oct 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 09:30:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Saturday morning, an American hero by the name of Sidney Walton passed away. The WWII veteran died at 102 years old.

It's an age which many would consider an incredible feat. Sidney's son Paul, shared that while his father lived a long life, his passing still came as a shock.

Paul described Sidney, even up until his last moments, as a man who had spunk, charisma, and an infectious energy that went beyond any age limit.

"This was his pride and honor everyday," said Paul as he held his father's beloved hat that read 'WWII Veteran'.

RELATED: Sidney Walton, One of America's oldest WWII veterans, dead at 102

Sidney Walton was born in New York City in 1919. He enlisted in the army and served in WWII as a corporal and medical technician.

"If not for the bravery and courageousness of these soldiers who sacrificed their lives," shared Paul, "we would not be here today."

After the war, Walton taught geology at Duke University and later did graduate work at Yale University. He met his wife during that time. Years later they gave birth to their first child, Paul, then two daughters.

In 1960, the Walton's moved to San Diego.

Walton was known as loving his family and his country. He told his son on his 99th birthday, that his biggest regret was never meeting any civil war veterans.

"We asked him, how would you like to go on tour throughout the United States, and give every American the opportunity to meet a WWII veteran before it's too late?"

That's exactly what Sidney did.

With the help of Paul, Sidney set out on the "No Regrets Tour", to visit 50 governors in 50 states. Unfortunately that goal was not met, as Sidney met his 40th governor in Oklahoma last week.

But as Paul alluded, Sidney leaves behind a legacy that is even greater.

"Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent, that didn't matter to him. What mattered is that people would appreciate the sacrifices that our WWII vets made."

Paul shared during his father's life, Sidney met 40 governors, visited 40 US states, and 30 countries.

Sidney is described as a scholar, family man, jokester, and adventurer. Who also showed us all that it is never too late to make an impact, "Just to instill the spirit, the can do spirit," said Paul, "and I really want you to know that if you put your mind to something it can be done."

Paul hoped, his father would inspire others for years to come, "Seeing the world through his eyes, and the country through his eyes, and I have to tell you. Today, the world lost a truly great patriot."

Paul told ABC 10News that while his father did not complete his "No Regrets Tour" before he died, Paul is planning to continue the tour in his honor.