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Friends, family marking 100th birthday for WWII veteran

100th birthday (MatissDzelve/Pixabay)

A lot can happen in a century.

For one Beardstown man — one of a dwindling number of World War II survivors — the world has changed before his eyes.

Army veteran Charles “Ike” Weishaar celebrated in 100th birthday Thursday, marking a century of life.

“I’ve done a lot in my lifetime,” Weishaar said.

As he recalled growing up in Browning and fishing and duck hunting on the Illinois River with his three brothers and two sisters, Weishaar said things were different back then.

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“Our roads were mud, we had no hard roads,” he said. “Things changed in Browning when the highway went through, though there weren’t many automobiles.”

Weishaar grew up when it cost 15 cents to see a movie, not including the 10 cents it cost to get a ride to the theater.

During his 100 years, Weishaar said he’s seen a lot.

Serving in the Army from 1942 to 1945 overseas in Africa, Italy and France, Weishaar was 23 when he was sent to Africa, where he helped guard prisoners of war.

On the way to Africa, Weishaar said there were times when it seemed the Germans were messing with the ships moving across the ocean.

“This German submarine came up between our ship and another, followed alongside us for awhile,” he said. “We saw him come up and thought he was a whale at first. They did it just to torment us a bit. Two destroyers took off after him, don’t know if they ever caught him.”

After that, Weishaar was sent to Italy and then spent time in France.

“We were sent to six weeks of infantry training,” Weishaar said. “The day we finished, the war was over. We were tickled.”

It was that day that has remained one of Weishaar’s most memorable moments. With the war over, Weishaar and his unit didn’t have much to do as they awaited orders to return home.

Instead, they spent the time sight seeing and enjoying their time in France.

“All we had to do was wait, we got to visit Paris and the Eiffel Tower,” Weishaar said. “We were all so glad to be waiting on a boat to come home.”

Those orders soon came and Weishaar returned home on a ship with roughly 32,0000 other men and women.

Now Weishaar has two daughters, a son, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Though he didn’t have much advice, he did say people shouldn’t smoke, drink very little and get involved and stay active.

Beardstown Mayor Leslie Harris proclaimed Jan. 16 Charles “Ike” Weishaar day in honor of his birthday and service to the country.

Weishaar will be celebrating his birthday with family and friends from 1 to 3 p.m. today at the Beardstown Veterans of Foreign Wars post at 610 E. Fourth St.

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