WWII veteran celebrates 104th birthday with surprise parade

WWII veteran celebrates 104th birthday with surprise parade

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Community members came together to celebrate a Cincinnati World War II veteran’s 104th birthday with a surprise event.

The drive-by parade for Bob Doolan took place at the Western Hills Retirement Village on Sunday afternoon.

From a marching band performance to posed pictures, Doolan celebrated his 104th birthday in style.

The turnout left him stunned, shocked by how many people came out to tell him “happy birthday.”

“I think it’s great. I’d like to see 105 next year,” Doolan said. “It was unbelievable. I’m not worth all that.”

Doolan said he graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1935. He then went on to fight in WWII and took his class ring with him.

After his B-17 bomber was shot down in 1943, Doolan said he traded the ring for food while fleeing from Nazis.

“We were running away from the plane, and at that time, the Dutch and the Belgians and the French were setting up a line to get me back into combat, and I couldn’t be wearing a ring with English printing on it, so I gave it to this Dutchman, and he gave me a sandwich,” Doolan said.

The school gifted Doolan a replica ring in 2007. It has been a treasured item for the veteran and is something he is always wearing around his neck. He proudly displayed it during the birthday party on Sunday.

“After the war, one of my classmates talked to X, and they worked with the manufacturer to make me a brand new ring exactly like the other one in 1935,” Doolan said.

In his more than 100 years of life, Doolan has shared in many experiences, but when asked what his secret to living a long life is, he said it is best to keep it simple:

“Get up, shave, and make the bed,” shares Doolan.

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