Posted at: 02/19/2013 9:32 PM
Updated at: 02/19/2013 10:43 PM
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- As dozens of veterans and their families gathered at American Legion Post 92 in Rochester on Tuesday night, six World War II veterans held a special place of honor.
They were six of the remaining eight members of the Last Man's Club that started with more than 70 members decades ago.
The group met routinely for dinner and other special events over the years, and on Tuesday they were honored for their service.
“The role models that you are, are something that we should all emulate,” said Rochester mayor Ardell Brede. “And certainly a lot of the young people today should take notice of what you've given."
As part of the ceremony, American Legion officials opened a large bottle of champagne that the group bought nearly 30 years ago as a symbol of their continued allegiance.
Although veterans noted it was meant as more of a symbol than anything else.
“I'm not much of a champagne drinker,” confessed Last Man’s Club member Earl Krippner. “But I think it will be alright."
The surviving veterans also donated a pair of specially engraved flags to the American Legion to serve as the post's official colors for years to come.
And while the ceremony did focus on the six Last Man’s Club members, veterans said it was meant to honor all those service men and women who have fought for our country.
“It makes you feel good, but you’ve got to think of the other people too,” Krippner said. “There were too many guys like me out there doing the same thing as I was doing. I don't want to take it away from them."
Although many of the veterans said they would continue to participate in American Legion events, the ceremony Tuesday night was considered the final meeting of the Last Man’s Club.