Duane Sherman, a World War II veteran in California, turned 96-years-old on Dec. 30.
Sherman, saddened by the loss of aging friends, just wanted to skip through the big day but his daughter made sure that wasn’t the case, according to CBS 2 News.
“I get emotional about it. A lot of my old buddies are gone,” Sherman said. Most of those who served in WWII are nearing the age of 100.
HEARTWARMING: Thousands of strangers helped make this 96-year-old veteran’s birthday wish come true by sending him birthday cards from all over the world! https://t.co/fSddA5yP7l pic.twitter.com/B2YYJzN1LX
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 31, 2018
To get rid of her father’s blues, Sue Morse turned to social media and the internet and asked that people just send her father a birthday wish, NBC 4 reported.
“He doesn’t get any mail other than a bill,” she said.
“We should all be very proud of their service and honor them in any way that we can,” Morse said.
She asked, and the people answered when her father received around “50,000 birthday cards, mailed from all 50 states as well as ten countries across the globe.”
Morse said, “Boy, we changed that, didn’t we?”
“Well, I’ll have a hell of a time reading them,” Sherman said.
During Sherman’s birthday celebration, he was surprised and delighted to receive a visit from several U.S. Navy chiefs who traveled from San Diego.
They gathered around and listened to Sherman’s stories about getting his Purple Heart and how he still has shrapnel in his back to prove it.
Sherman told them the details of when he was “chief sonarman aboard the USS Lamson and a kamikaze plane slammed into the ship he served during World War II and he lost 30 shipmates.”
Many younger vets also attended the celebration to make sure that Sherman knew the importance of his service and that he has people who care to surround him.
Senior Navy chief Jerry Green said, “It’s very humbling and very awesome to see.”
Just three days before Sherman’s 96th birthday, the nation mourned the death of Richard Overton, who was the oldest veteran serving in World War II and the oldest person on the U.S. at age 112.
Richard Overton enlisted in the Army in 1942, nine months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served in Guam, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, until he left the military in 1945.
In Mar. 2017, Overton was honored at a San Antonio Spurs game, where he received a standing ovation at the age of 110 and was handed a custom camouflage Spurs jersey with his name and the number “110.”