Community comes together to celebrate WWII veteran’s 93rd birthday

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:55 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Ernie Varner has lived through the Great Depression and served in the final year of World War II―stationed in Japan.

And January 25th is his 93rd birthday.

However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, Cedar Grove Assisted Living had to find a way to help him celebrate.

World War II veteran, Ernie Varner says, “They’re awful good to me here.”

A fifth-grade Mineral Wells Elementary class provided him with cards and drawings to show their appreciation for what Varner did for his country.

Many of them also were able to learn more about his time. They asked everything from what it was like in the military and what kind of food he ate during his time in the Army.

He even had a chance to teach them some of the Japanese he learned during his time in the service.

“A few of the words that I still remember is ‘mizu’ means water. ‘Gyūnyū’ is milk,” he told the class.

The children weren’t the only ones to give Varner a president either.

He also received a letter from West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, wishing him a happy birthday.

Community comes together to celebrate WWII veteran’s 93rd birthday
Community comes together to celebrate WWII veteran’s 93rd birthday(Mitchell Blahut - WTAP)

“It means a lot to me,” says Varner. “With the governor of the state to wish me a happy birthday.”

When Varner reflects on all 93 of his years, he says he’s most proud of his marriage of 70 years to his late wife.

“People have always asked me what the secret to that,” says Varner. “I always said, ‘Three little words: I am sorry.’ And either one of us would say that. We’d have a little fuss. One of us would say, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Varner states that he’s happy with the way his socially distant birthday went.

And he’s very pleased with becoming the oldest ever in his family at his age.

“It’s something that I’ve accomplished I guess by the good Lord’s help. And reaching this age I never thought I’d live this long,” says Varner.

Varner says that he’s most looking forward to getting some rest after his big day.

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