WW II veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Decatur, Ill (WAND) – The surviving veterans of World War II are now mostly in their 90s.  WWII vet Irwin Soliday will celebrate his 100th birthday on Saturday with family.

Friday, the Army veteran received a plaque from Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Eric Jefferies during a ceremony honoring his service in Decatur.

Soliday entered the military in October 1941.  On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor throwing the United States into war.  Soliday was stationed in California the day the attack occurred.  He was told to protect a nearby hillside in case the Japanese were on their way to the U.S. mainland.

“We were issued a rifle and two bullets,” Soliday chuckled. 

Soliday fought the Japanese in New Guinea.  He received 5 medals for his service including a bronze star.