A World War II veteran in Arkansas reached his one hundredth birthday in the future after Veterans Day.
Harold Chilton of Fayetteville, Arkansas, celebrated the milestone on Saturday, Nov. 12, with about 60 of his shut household and mates.
“I’m as shocked as anyone that I’ve come this far,” Chilton instructed Fox Information Digital throughout a cellphone interview.
“It’s by the grace of God, I’ll inform you that. And I don’t know why,” he continued.
Chilton mentioned his household hosted a birthday party for him and company arrived “from throughout” with playing cards and nicely needs.
A particular 100-layer cake was ready in Chilton’s honor, and he entertained company along with his piano enjoying.
“I respect that they did this,” Chilton mentioned. “We had fun.”
Chilton was born in 1922 in Plainfield, New Jersey. Music has lengthy been his ardour.
As a baby, he discovered the way to play the harmonica and ukulele, then moved alongside to the accordion, guitar and piano.
After highschool, he turned a member of a neighborhood band that carried out up and down the East Coast.
When he enlisted within the U.S. Marine Corps months after the assault on Pearl Harbor, Chilton was assigned to the Marine Band.
“I used to be shocked,” Chilton mentioned, noting he underwent arduous coaching on the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina.
“I had the very best rating in rifle,” he recalled. “[But] I used to be not despatched to a kind of assault camps.”
Chilton discovered to play the French horn. He performed the instrument when the Marine Band deployed overseas and was tasked with acting at parades and different army occasions.
Within the three years he served, Chilton labored in New Caledonia, a French island territory within the South Pacific; Guadalcanal, a southern island within the Solomon Islands, additionally within the South Pacific; and Okinawa, a southern prefecture in Japan.
Throughout intense battles, bandsmen have been typically tasked with being stretcher bearers, Chilton mentioned.
“I can not consider something extra harmful in a battle than to be a stretcher bearer,” Chilton mentioned. “What do they do? They exit on the battlefield, the place males are dying, and so they put these injured males on stretchers liable to their very own lives. Lots of them died doing this.”
“I assume the bandsmen ultimately did pave their approach,” he continued.
Chilton accomplished 35 months of service and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant.
He returned to his New Jersey house in December 1945 at age 23.
After the warfare, Chilton labored as an expert musician and schoolteacher.
He went on to get a grasp’s diploma in historical Greek on the College of Southern California — a level that got here in useful when he turned a Christian pastor and would evaluate the New Testomony.
“I feel it is clever to maintain as wholesome as you may and keep energetic.”
In 1950, Chilton wed Loisruth Chilton. The couple were married for 62 years.
“The Lord referred to as her house 10 years in the past,” Chilton mentioned. “She taught many ladies’s teams and Bible research, and he or she was a really godly individual.”
For a time, the Chiltons served as missionaries within the Philippines, and so they returned to the U.S. within the Sixties.
“After I was within the Marine Corps, I used to be a Christian in identify solely. I had no relationship with God,” Chilton mentioned.
“I wasn’t conscious of it on the time, however as I look again on it, nicely — there isn’t any higher strategy to put it than I see the hand of God on my life.”
Chilton and his spouse moved from Las Vegas to Arkansas in 1997.
Chilton mentioned he believes he might need reached 100 as a result of he has many hobbies that preserve him busy.
He’s recorded over 2,200 songs and sends CDs to family members and friends.
He additionally writes letters typically and has stored a journal.
Chilton mentioned that earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, he would play devices at native houses for the aged.
As of late, he will get physical and mental exercise by strolling round city and attending digital church.
“I feel it is clever to maintain as wholesome as you may and keep energetic,” Chilton mentioned.
“I am not an awesome meat eater or something like that,” Chilton mentioned.
“In case you simply put just a little peanut butter on a roll or cracker, I will be completely satisfied.”