PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A very special birthday celebration was held on Monday at the Delaware Valley Veterans Home in Northeast Philadelphia. It was a celebration fit for a hero, as a World War II veteran turned 100 years old.
A room full of veterans honored Matthew Regula on his special day.
“I feel very good, couldn’t feel better,” he said.
During the war, Regula was an intelligence sergeant in the infantry and is a Silver Star recipient who still has a vivid recollection of combat action in Normandy, France.
“If you’re in the battle, and you’re coming off the ship, you don’t know where you’re going but you’re coming to the enemy,” he recalled.
Matthew Moss is Regula’s great nephew. He finds inspiration in his great uncle’s longevity and his humility.
“I think that someone in our family has made it to such an age — granted the man took care of himself and survived a lot — but just reaching that age alone is an incredible feat,” Moss said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf sent a personal birthday greeting to the veteran’s home.
“Bronze Star, Silver Star, very well decorated. All of our World War II vets are America’s greatest generation, so we owe them a lot,” Major General Tony Carrelli said.
“I’m thankful for the day that I could have so many people concerned about an individual like myself,” Regula said.
The Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs says Monday was the third or fourth celebration held for a World War II veteran in 2019.
There have been dozens of birthday celebrations honoring 100-year-old veterans, since the program started three years ago.