Local veteran once visited by Queen of England

Kenneth Reagan Sr.

was raised in Kennett, Mo., the son of a blacksmith who also raised cotton, corn and soybeans to support his family.

When Reagan was 19 he married a girl from Georgia - Emma Jean Harper, but the honeymoon was short-lived and the Missourian was drafted into the U.S.

Army and shipped to Mississippi for training.

In 1944 Reagan was shipped to England for the invasion of Normandy.

During combat at La Contral, France, Reagan was shot five times.

Wounds to his right shoulder, right leg, left foot, left elbow and back left him in "bad shape" he said, and medics removed his dog tags from his neck to treat the shoulder wound.

"They had to put my dog tags on my arm, and I had a jacket over it," Reagan said.

"When I woke up in the general hospital in England (about 35 miles away) I asked the ward boy for some water and a razor so I could shave.

"He said, 'You not only speak English, but you have a Southern accent as well.'"

Reagan had been transferred to the prison ward of the hospital because no identification had been found.

"I told them who I was and that I was raised in Missouri and belonged to the 9th infantry, 39th regimen, company A, 1st battalion and showed him my dog tags," he said.

"They moved me to another ward."

The English were so embarrassed about the situation, that when they were looking for a soldier for the Queen of England to visit with for a documentary, "News of the Day," they chose Reagan.

"The generals apologized and decided to pick me for the queen to visit with," he said.

"The only thing they said was that whatever I did, not to make her laugh."

True to their word the Queen of England, who was 48-years-old at the time, visited with private first class Reagan two days later, but Reagan did not follow instructions.

"She was very polite," he said.

"She asked me where I was from, and I said, 'the United States.' When she asked what state I was from, I said, 'Missouri.'"

But when the queen answered, "You're one of those show me boys (Missouri is the 'Show Me State'), Reagan answered: "I hear you have a couple of daughters.

Show me one of them."

Reagan said the queen laughed, and filming stopped before she said, "It's OK, I like him."

During his stay in the hospital, Reagan also received a call from United States Vice President Harry Truman, he said.

On Aug.

11, 1946 Reagan was discharged from the army, but not before receiving numerous ribbons and medals, including the Purple Heart.

Back in the United States Reagan resumed life as a husband and father, becoming a sign painter and raising four children.

The Reagans moved to Kingman in 1991, but life again took a bad turn when Emma Jean was killed by a drunk driver in 1993.

Now 79, Reagan still has shrapnel lodged in his foot and will spend Veterans Day in a hospital getting cataracts removed from his eye, but he said he is not complaining.

An American Legion Post No.

22 chaplain, Reagan is also a member of VFW Post No.

10386 in Kingman.

"I've lived a good life," he said.

"I have no regrets."