LIVINGSTON – A World War II veteran from Denham Springs was honored by parish leaders, who proclaimed March 9 — his 92nd birthday — to be Preston Harris Day.
Sulcer Preston Harris, a lifelong resident of Livingston Parish, was raised in the Depression era and, at the age of 18, enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman.
Harris was “placed on a ship the size of which he had never seen, sent to an area of the globe he had barely heard of, to fight an enemy he didn’t know,” Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse said, in recognizing Harris at the council’s March 9 meeting. “At this point in his life, this is just a country boy who had barely traveled outside his parish, much less his country.”
Harris served in the Pacific theater from 1943-1946, participating in five invasions in the U.S. military’s effort to reclaim the Japanese island of Okinawa.
“Of this time in his life, Mr. Harris states that he made many dear friends and lost many of them to the high price of war,” Girlinghouse said.
After returning from war, Harris trained as a master welder and carpenter, working for Exxon refinery and later for Smith Building Supply in Denham Springs.
“He married Dorothy Day Harris and raised six children, one of which is this young whipper-snapper,” Girlinghouse said, gesturing to District 5 Councilman R.C. “Bubba” Harris.
Preston Harris has 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, in whom he instilled a strong work ethic, a sense of fairness and a good sense of humor, Girlinghouse said.
“Mr. Preston is a member of what has come to be known as the greatest generation, and one doesn’t have to imagine hard to know why they have acquired this title,” Girlinghouse said. “This generation is very proud of their country, never failed to do their duty and stood up for their fellow man in one of humanity’s darkest hours.”
Harris’s motto is “Love for God and country, in that order,” Girlinghouse said. “He’s also been known to say, ‘Hard work never hurt anybody.’ So today, this day, March 9, 2017, Mr. Preston Harris’s 92nd birthday, it is indeed my honor and privilege to present this award of recognition to a great father, warrior, and American.”
Parish President Layton Ricks also presented Harris with a proclamation, declaring the day Preston Harris Day in Livingston Parish.