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World War II veteran celebrates 93rd birthday

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 10:28 AM EDT
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VIENNA, W.Va (WTAP) - Carlos L. Gray is one of the youngest World War II veterans alive, joining the United States Navy when he was just 17 years old and being a part of the U.S.S. Clark.

After having served, he would go on to be in a 61-year marriage, come away with a number of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren before finally graduating from high school at the age of ninety.

That event was celebrated three years ago. Today, he’s enjoying an unusual birthday with the pandemic still happening. And because of this, his grandchildren thought throwing him a parade would be a safe and fun way to honor their grandfather.

This came across from my kids. Rick, Jeff, Stacy, Carey, Derek. I have to give Carey Berdine and Jill Berdine and Jeff, I have to give them a lot of because they created all of this... I feel that this is an honor today. With everybody putting forth their effort in making this parade a success.

Sandy Rollyson, Daughter

And despite the rain, dozens of people came to celebrate the vet. Many of them showing up with gifts, birthday cards and candy.

“My dad has always been a people person," says Sandy Rollyson. "And I don’t think the man has ever had an enemy. He goes into various stores in the community; he can’t now. But when he could, people from all departments would come out and give him a hug. And his personality is just awesome.”

Gray was amazed at the event and appreciation shown for him.

This was beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was really lovely.

Carlos L. Gray, World War II veteran

After the parade had ended, Sandy wanted to remind her father that she’s still “daddy’s little girl.”

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