‘When I hear The Star-Spangled Banner, tears come to my eyes!’ WWII vet throws first pitch

SEATTLE -- A World War II veteran received the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Mariners game on July Fourth.

"I love America. I spent several years defending it," said Donald Houck of Bellevue, who served in the Army in the 1940s.

"Well, I got a bronze star and a good conduct medal and two medals of battlefields," he added.

At Tuesday's Mariners game, Donald received another honor, thanks to his grandson, King County sheriff's deputy Jason Houck.

"He's 93 years old and I've never seen him that excited before in my life. Couldn't sleep last night, he was so excited," Jason said.

Jason nominated his grandfather to throw the ceremonial first pitch on July Fourth.

The World War II veteran served with the 75th Infantry Division in Central Europe. He's also a retired Boeing engineer.

"When I hear The Star-Spangled Banner, tears come to my eyes," Donald said. "America is good."

Throwing out the first pitch can be pretty nerve-wracking. But Donald was up for the challenge. But he walked out to the mound to cheers and, with one quick swing of his arm, accomplished his mission.

It was most certainly one of those moments in life that this veteran will never forget.

"Walked out there like I knew what I was doing," Donald said with a laugh.