Burnie Sutter and his family were all smiles on Saturday as they watched a parade of about 100 cars help celebrate his 100th birthday.
The veteran, who wore his military medallions, waved as neighbors drove past, honking and cheering outside the Saddle Brook Memory Care Community assisted living facility in Frisco, Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“It was an extremely emotional day,” said his daughter, Sandra Richards. “This week has been because it’s such an outpouring of all these people who we don’t know, don’t know my dad, don’t know us, and they’ve just been awesome.”
The birthday celebration honored the 90th Infantry Division veteran, who was one of the first Allies in Czechoslovakia during the effort to end the war.
“Sutter also landed on the beaches of Normandy as a heavy weapons machine gunner on June 6, 1944, and is one of few American D-Day veterans still alive today,” the newspaper said.
He also helped in the effort to liberate Flossenburg Concentration Camp.
Leaders and representatives from several organizations held a ceremony prior to the parade and state Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco), named April 7, 2021, “Burnie Sutter Day” as people cheered for the veteran whose birthday was on Wednesday.
Plans for the celebration took off when Richards asked Facebook and NextDoor users to help make her dad feel loved by sending 100 birthday cards:
Hi Friends!I NEED YOUR HELP! My Dad, Burnie, turns 100 years old, an amazing milestone, on April 7th. We just moved…
Richards said the social media post reached people all over the globe and Sutter received over 400 cards, including a few from France.
“It’ll take us a year to get through them all because he reads every card meticulously,” she explained.
People from across North Texas joined the parade and decorated their vehicles with American flags, streamers, balloons, and signs.
John Q. Miller, a veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, said there was no question he and members of the Frisco Veterans of Foreign Wars group wanted to participate in Sutter’s big day.
“There’s not many WWII vets left, so we definitely wanted to honor him on his birthday and show him that there’s still a lot of people out here that still care, still appreciate what he did,” Miller commented.
Richards could tell her dad knew the celebration was all for him.
“He’s amazingly in the moment,” she stated, adding, “I’m just amazed he’s just — I can tell he knows that it’s for him. That just makes my heart feel good.”