Voices of Our Veterans: Jim Harding
JACKSON, TN (WNBJ) - 39 News is spotlighting another deserving veteran in the community. We call these stories Voices of Our Veterans.
Thousands of veterans all across west Tennessee have sacrificed for us and these are their stories.
Tonight 39 News introduces Jim Harding who served in the Air Force from 1956 to 1979.
“What we were doing then was especially, important to us because we were actually keeping people from being tortured or killed and that was a great asset to our military,” said Colonel Jim Harding, retired Air Force.
Harding served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the Vietnam War, he rescued people from being captured.
“Once you meet up with someone that you’ve rescued and they realize, you kept them from being captured or killed. The gratitude that they showed is unbelievable,” said Harding.
The colonel went on to say that he still keeps in touch with someone he rescued while in the Air Force.
Harding is the 25th most decorated soldier enlisted in the military and spend 3 and a half years in combat. He believes being able to serve his country is the most rewarding and highest honor he has attained.
“The reason I was glad to do that is that I felt like we were doing something productive. We were helping a nation that needed our help and it was something I would do again, without any problem,” said Harding.
Harding was selected as the grand marshall of the 2021 Veterans Day Parade in Jackson. He says Veterans Day holds a special place in his heart.
“Well, the Veterans Day Parade is an opportunity to let everybody come out and show their appreciation for the veterans. It’s great that we see people thanking people for their service. That’s always a good feeling,” said Harding.
The 2021 Veterans Day Parade is this Saturday at 11 a.m. in downtown Jackson.