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Posted: December 09, 2017

WWII vet celebrates 100th birthday on Pearl Harbor Day

American flag.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
American flag.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A World War II veteran celebrated his 100th birthday on Pearl Harbor Day, remembering his time in the military and 52 years working in the steel mills of Indiana.

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Roberto Reyna, Sr. was celebrating his 24th birthday on Dec. 7, 1941, in El Gato, Texas, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, WGN reported.

Reyna was drafted into the military soon after and was stationed on a small island in the South Pacific. In August 1945, the Mexican-born Reyna and his fellow servicemen watched as an atomic bomb bound for Hiroshima was loaded onto a B-29 plane.

“Some things you can never forget in your life. What you saw. And then what happened,” Reyna said.

He first came to the United States when he was 2 years old from Monterrey, Mexico, his family running to safety to escape the bloody Mexican revolution. When his tour of duty ended in 1946, a friend told him the steel mills in Indiana were looking for laborers.

“I come out here (to) try ’em out for six months -- and I end up working 52 years,” Reyna said.

Reyna still watches what he eats and follows doctor's orders; no sugar or salt for him, not even on his 100th birthday. That may change when his big, loving family takes him out to eat this weekend.


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