John Welsh a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and recipient of two Purple Heart medals, was feted during a drive-by parade for his 100th birthday, outside his Somerdale, N.J. home on Sunday.
“We had hoped to hold a big party for him, but COVID-19 had other plans,” said his daughter Darcy Liberatore.
Welsh served in World War II on Guam, Bougainville, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. He was wounded twice and survived both malaria and a life-threatening jungle fever during the island campaigns.
Dozens of vehicles, led by a fire engine from Chews Landing Fire Department and the local police, along with American Legion members on motorcycles, passed as neighbors came out to wave from their front yards.
Welsh was part of ceremonies on the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial on the Camden waterfront earlier this year, tossing a remembrance wreath into the Delaware River. His family also went with him to Washington, D.C. in February for the 75th Iwo Jima survivors reunion. “There were about 55 men there from all over the United States,” Liberatore said.
“It’s just tremendous to see the outpouring of support for a man who served his county and his family. It makes this a momentous occasion,” said his son Tim Welsh.