British military veteran Eric Taylor just celebrated his 100th birthday. He didn’t expect much of a turn out given social distancing measures amid a global pandemic.
But expectations are often erroneous.
Eric’s otherwise known as “the forgotten hero of Dunkirk” by friends and family.
Eric’s modest. He didn’t ask for much of anything on his birthday. He’s 100 now anyway, very little surprises him.
He was simply content standing on his lawn, watching a few dozen people drive by as they sent their regards.
But then something incredible happened.
A large brass-heavy marching band appeared out of nowhere.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Eric was shocked. All this for him?
Then… came the jets.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Royal Navy sent a couple of surprise planes for the occasion.
More and more people continued to flock to Eric’s birthday bash.
Eric was incredibly touched by the amazing gestures,
“I’m so pleased to reach this age and still able to enjoy what I’ve received today, with everybody helping to make a tremendous day on my 100th birthday.”
Eric’s son Bruce organized the festivities, impressed by the incredible reception in his father’s honor, “There were over 200 physical cards that arrived through the door, including from Her Majesty the queen and the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall.”
Wow, even one from the queen!
Most of it was a complete surprise to his father. “He was aware that there were things going on, but he didn’t realize the extent. But he was delighted, he thought it was absolutely terrific.”
He’s so appreciative of everything.
“I’m thrilled to be here with the people and enjoy it. I hadn’t imagined it would be like this. It is really beyond my expectations seeing people turning up three or four times a day. I am a bit overwhelmed. It’s fantastic.”
The birthday boy has some pretty epic, tragic war stories. He’s considered a local hero. At age 19, he was captured in France while defending Dunkirk, eventually spending five long years in a prisoner camp in Germany. In 1945, he was released by the United States army.
He received the British Empire Medal for his heroic efforts during the war. Here he is back in the day – a rather strapping young lad:
His son Bruce continues,
“The response has been superb, and he’s had a fantastic day. I think he’s been overwhelmed. There was a good 100 people at the drive by, there were lots of motorbikes and cars beeping their horns for him, and two fighter jets from RNAS Culdrose did a fly by.”
He definitely looks like he’s enjoying himself.
“We’ve had a fantastic day despite the lockdown and it has probably been even more memorable due to the circumstances.”
He mentions that his father has incredible health and is as sharp as ever.
Eric’s had a truly unbelievable life.
“He had a difficult time during the war but lived to tell the tale and managed to live on to become 100.”
100 years! If my calculations are correct, he’s lived through World War II, the Cold War, and now COVID-19. If that can’t slow him down, nothing can.
Eric’s birthday even blew up on social media. He received over 450 birthday cards!
“I’ve also had in excess of 250 emails and 200 e-cards from America, Canada, France, and all over the UK — from fellow veterans to young children. There’s been so many that all he’s done is open them and put them in a basket, he’ll read them when he gets the time.”
Congratulations on the amazing milestone and happy birthday Eric! You are definitely not forgotten.
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