Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2441 honored one of their own on Friday with a parade to celebrate an incredible milestone.
Verne Sanders, one of very few World War II veterans still living in the North State, turned 100 years old on Oct. 9.
Due to the Sars COV-2 (coronavirus) pandemic, Sanders watched the parade of fire engines, law enforcement vehicles, motorcycles, and flag-decorated vehicles from the driveway of his 13th street home as they paid tribute to a life well lived.
Sanders was just 21 years old, in 1942, when he was drafted to serve during World War II, and placed with the 242nd Field Artillery Battalion, a light artillery division that marched across Europe from Utah Beach, just after the landing, to Bavaria, serving 240 consecutive days in combat until the end of the war.
Sanders’ neighbors also came out of their homes to watch the parade, which included the Colusa Fire Department, Colusa Police Department, Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, and Maxwell American Legion Post No. 218.
Sanders, who has lived in Colusa for nearly 30 years, got tears in his eyes as he waved to his friends in the procession. He’s been an active member of the Post, attending meetings and the annual VFW summer picnics, until March 2020, when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of most community events.
The virus, however, hasn’t gotten the centurinarian down, and he happily welcomed family and friends who stopped by to wish him happy birthday.
Sanders was born in 1920, the same year the first H1N1 pandemic, called the Spanish Flu, was declared officially over after it infected nearly one-third of the world’s population and killed as many as 50 million people. He also lived through the worldwide pandemic of H2N2 (Asian Flu) in 1957 and H3N2 (Hong Kong Flu), in 1969.
Researchers currently have their eye on a new G4 virus or Swine Flu, emerging in China, that has pandemic potential.♣