Oldest known WWII veteran honored at Arlington ceremony

The oldest known veteran of World War II was honored with a thunderous standing ovation during a ceremony Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, as President Obama and the rest of the nation paid tribute to 107-year-old Richard Overton's service.

The tribute to Overton was a stand-out moment at Monday's Veterans Day ceremonies, as details emerged about Overton's visit. Earlier in the day, the Texas man met with Obama and Vice President Biden, along with other veterans, during a White House breakfast.

"This is the life of one American veteran, living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free," Obama said during the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Though he uses a wheelchair, Overton can still stand -- and did so, as the crowd applauded his service.

Overton served in the Pacific during World War II, and Obama regaled the audience with his accomplishments. "He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima," Obama said.

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When he returned from the war, Overton went back to Texas, where he built a house for him and his wife -- the house he still lives in today. The president said Overton still rakes his own lawn, and still drives ladies in his neighborhood to church every Sunday.

According to a profile on Overton in USA Today, his attendance at Monday's ceremony was set up after Overton visited the World War II Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as part of an Honor Flight Austin trip back in May. Overton reportedly wondered what it would be like to meet the president, and the visit was later arranged.

During the war, Overton was a member of the Army's 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion and reportedly volunteered for service.

He attributes his longevity in part to drinking a tablespoon of whiskey in his coffee and smoking a dozen cigars a day, according to the article.

Obama used his remarks Monday to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan. The war is expected to formally conclude at the end of next year, though the U.S. may keep a small footprint in the country.

As the Afghan war comes to a close, Obama said the nation has a responsibility to ensure that the returning troops are the "best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world." The country's obligations to those who served "endure long after the battle ends," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.