Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A World War II Veteran with a very unique story got to raise the American flag at Saturday’s Twins game.
Sergeant Thomas Ritter and his wife, Peggy, have been Twins fans since the team moved to the Twin Cities from Washington DC.
Ritter is also the last surviving member of his company.
“I know he’s so proud of it. It’s all he’s been talking about all week,” Peggy said.
And that’s saying a lot, coming from the 88 year old. Thomas is a man of dedication, having served his country in World War II, and being devoted to his wife Peggy for 65 years. And despite the ups and downs of the Twins, he stands by them.
Thomas’ daughter, Martha, says an honor from the Twins means so much to her father.
“He follows the Twins and this is such an honor for him. We are just so excited for him,” Martha said.
Like the Twins, Thomas and his wife have their own line-up of seven daughters.
Thomas himself is a twin. His brother Will was killed in World War II.
And there are currently four sets of twins in his family, including granddaughters Addie and Rose.
His Minnesota Twins’ connection dates back to when the team first arrived, when he became friends with a couple of Twins: Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison.
“When Killebrew and Bob Allison came to Minnesota, they lived next door to us,” Thomas said.
But what really makes Sergeant Ritter’s story unique is that he is the last surviving member of his company.
“There was 139 of us, and I’m the only one living,” he said.
“All the reunions kept getting smaller and smaller. And finally, he’s just the last one,” Martha said.
That’s what makes this opportunity to raise the flag even more special. As Thomas cheers on his favorite team, he’s also remembering the brothers who went before him.
“He’s been a good father, and a good veteran, and a good guy,” Peggy said.
Thomas had a chance to play minor league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, but instead chose to serve his country.
He is one of the less than two million World War II veterans still alive today.