Neighbors in Pearl River, New York, recently gave a World War II veteran a birthday surprise he will never forget.
When Alan Cameron got up on Monday morning, he had no idea what his community had in store for him, according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.
Even though his actual birthday was Sunday, those who wanted to wish him well drove by his home in a parade led by local officials and members of the police and fire departments.
Drivers waved and children held colorful balloons and signs that said things like “Happy Birthday! Have a Great Day!” to make Cameron feel loved on his special day.
One woman smiled and blew kisses as she drove past his home.
“He and all of us were surprised,” explained Cameron’s daughter, Debbie David.
“We thought, ‘Where are all of these cars coming from?'” she continued.
In a Facebook post after the event, the Rockland County Government shared a picture of the veteran standing inside his front door as he watched everyone drive by.
“Yesterday, WWII Veteran Alan Cameron of Pearl River celebrated his 101st birthday,” the post read, adding, “Thank you Alan for your service and Happy Birthday.”
David said Cameron served in France, then went to Germany to help investigate war crimes during his time in the military.
He remained in the Army Reserves for years, and finally retired as a lieutenant colonel.
When the war ended, Cameron worked in marketing and as a real estate agent. Later, he used the court reporting skills he learned in the Army to work for municipalities before retiring in the early 1980s.
“He’s amazing,” said 68-year-old Michael Finer, who has lived next door to the veteran for the past 40 years.
Finer also noted that Cameron has never talked much about his service during the war.
“They’re a different generation. He is an unbelievable gentleman,” he stated.
Before going overseas, the California native met Jane Bocket at a dance while waiting to be shipped out from Camp Shanks in New York, according to David.
The two knew each other for about a week before he left, then communicated by mail. In one of those letters, Cameron promised Jane that when the war was over he would come home and marry her, and he did just that.
Even though his wife passed away in 2009, he still lives in their home on Bocket Road, which is named after her family.
Despite his health challenges, David said her father is doing well and wants everyone to know that he deeply appreciated the heartfelt birthday greetings from the community.