Am I the only one to notice? It seems I cannot scroll through another Facebook news, or Twitter feed, or Youtube channel without seeing a post or video of a 100-year-old WWII veteran celebrating life. I thought, in these dire times engendered by the coronavirus, it might be worth highlighting a few of these remarkable people. Each and every one has an inspirational and uplifting story to tell.
Sidney Walton on His No Regrets Tour
Sidney Walton had only one regret, according to a news report by CNN. In November 2019 at 99, he said he regretted not taking advantage of the opportunity much earlier in his life to meet one of the last living Civil War veterans. So, now, at 100, he’s making his own tour of the 50 states to meet people. Mr. Walton served in the China Burma India in the 34th Infantry, 8th Division, and reached the rank of corporal.
(Read more about Sidney and his tour at: https://gosidneygo.com)
As an expert rifleman and volunteer in the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, Jack Eaton earned a spot as a guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, BEFORE World War II began. When his enlistment expired in 1940, he went to work until the war broke out. Then, he re-enlisted in the army and became a mechanic and welder in Europe, repairing heavy equipment, some used to build allied airfields.
His secret to a long life includes walking (which he does, going around the Pentagon at a fast pace without a wheelchair), eating right, and rising every morning to do rigorous exercises.
When news of the Wichita Falls’ WWII veteran’s upcoming 100th birthday was posted on the internet, cards wishing him a happy birthday began arriving at Joe Cuba’s home. They kept coming for weeks, all 87,000. In an article in the Wichita Times, his daughter Beverly said, “Every time he goes in his room, he says, ‘Oh my goodness! All this for me?”
Eleanor Millican Frye
Then there is my friend, Eleanor Frye (whose story is featured in my book, The Other Veterans of World War II). At 101 and one-half, going on 102, she thinks 100-year-olds have a lot to learn. Eleanor served in the Navy during the war, helping to form convoys to protect cargo and troop ships bound for Europe. She has said, “I can’t really say why I joined. America was a different place back then. Everyone did what they could.”
Today she spends her days reading and enjoying her extensive garden, or plant collection as she calls it—most especially the conifers. Evergreen.
(Read more about Eleanor in the book, available wherever books are sold and through Kent State University Press.)