World War II Veteran Surprised with American Flag from U.S. Capitol for 100th Birthday

The US flag flies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2009. Millions of people are expected to be in the US capital to witness the swearing of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

An Illinois World War II veteran who turned 100 last Thursday got a surprise at his birthday party on Saturday that left him at a loss for words.

A group of family friends was throwing Leonard Crofford a birthday party when one of Crofford’s close friends gave him an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WSIL reported.

“I wasn’t expecting this; he fooled me. He didn’t tell me he was going to do this,” Crofford laughed.

Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) helped make the surprise a reality. Bost also read Crofford’s name on the House floor on the day the veteran turned 100.

“One thing I’ve learned in life is that you don’t throw the word ‘hero’ around lightly,” Bost said.

Crofford did not expect this surprise; he only expected he would be spending yet another year with family and friends.

Crofford, born in 1921, served in the Navy for two years before joining the Army two years later, serving from 1939 to 1945.

He is one of the few living veterans who witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

“This [flag] is something I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life, and I’m going to hand it on down to my children,” Crofford said.

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