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Boat landing named after Bonaire World War II veteran | Community Spirit

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Boat landing named after Bonaire World War II veteran
Boat landing named after Bonaire World War II veteran

 

 

89-year-old John Knowles knows a thing or two about history.

After all, he's part of it.

"They sent me to the 34th Infantry Division, 135th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Platoon," Knowles said.

Knowles fought on the front lines of World War II in North Africa and Italy from 1942 to 1945.

He suffered wounds to his leg, elbow, and thumb.

"I lost some real, real good friends," Knowles said. "Some of my best buddies."

He says he'll never be able to forget those memories and lives lost.

"I reached down to wake him up, I thought he was asleep and I felt blood," Knowles said. "He had got hit with a mortar."

Fear was a daily part of life for Knowles back then.

But he says he always knew in his heart he was coming home.

"I never gave up hope," Knowles said.

Then, he made history in another way. The Bonaire community named the Ocmulgee riverboat landing off Highway 96 Knowles Landing.

They nicknamed him the Ocmulgee Catfish Man, because he was an advocate of wildlife conservation and a regular sight at the landing.

"They named that thing after me and dedicated it to me, and I'm proud of it," Knowles said.

But what he's most proud of is the loyalty and service he's seen from veterans and current military alike.

"I'm proud of what we've done. I'm still proud of our servicemen today," Knowles said.

He's been through war, he's been through peace, and through it all lies a great love for this country.

"I love America," Knowles said. "I still think this is the greatest country in the world."

After his time in the service, Knowles worked as a civil engineer at Robins Air Force Base for almost 3 decades.

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