World War II veteran celebrates 102nd birthday: 'Blessed' and 'grateful' for community support

A caravan of friends, neighbors, first responders, and fellow veterans helped a dedicated dad, grandfather, and vet ring in his 102nd birthday on Dec. 31, 2021

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It was an uncommon but happy sight on New Year's Eve day, as a procession of cars, firetrucks, and ambulance vehicles made its way through cold neighborhood streets to wish very warm birthday wishes to Stanley Tauber of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., a World War II veteran who turned 102 years old.

Members of the town's American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion took part in the birthday drive-by.

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In addition, local firefighters and ambulance workers from Hastings-on-Hudson — volunteers all — honored Stanley Tauber as well by participating in the parade, turning on their lights and sounding sirens in his honor. 

Tauber said he felt "blessed" and "grateful" for all the attention from his neighbors, friends, and fellow village residents.

WWII veteran Stanley Tauber of New York (left) celebrated his 102nd birthday on Dec. 31, 2021 — and friends and community members came by to support him. He's shown above in the front yard of his home, with his daughter, Carol DeAngelis, on his birthday.

WWII veteran Stanley Tauber of New York (left) celebrated his 102nd birthday on Dec. 31, 2021 — and friends and community members came by to support him. He's shown above in the front yard of his home, with his daughter, Carol DeAngelis, on his birthday. (Courtesy Maria DeAngelis)

Normally his friends and neighbors would have thrown Tauber a good, old-fashioned, in-person birthday party — the kind we all cherish (and miss). But because the recent spread of the omicron variant prevented that, the people closest to him found another way to honor him. 

(They were not going to be deterred!)

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Village resident Bryan Healy was a leader in the birthday parade efforts for Tauber, both this year and last year.

Healy told Fox News Digital, "As commander of our local Sons of the American Legion squadron, I was very happy to honor Mr. Tauber's service to our community and country by organizing the birthday drive-by on Dec. 31, 2021. This was the second year we have done so," he added, "since we haven't been able to have a more traditional celebration due to the pandemic."

"Our village has only a few World War II veterans left," Healy also said, "and the Sons of the Legion stand ready to continue their legacy of service and patriotism."

Veteran Stanley Tauber waves on his 102nd birthday to friends and fellow residents of his small town in New York who came out to honor him on Dec. 31. 2021. 

Veteran Stanley Tauber waves on his 102nd birthday to friends and fellow residents of his small town in New York who came out to honor him on Dec. 31. 2021.  (Maureen Mackey / Fox News Digital)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says that of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, about 240,000 are alive today. 

Ron Paquette, chief of the Hastings-on-Hudson Fire Department, told Fox News Digital, "Happiest of birthdays to Stanley Tauber from all of us at the Hastings-on-Hudson volunteer fire department. We love being part of a birthday drive-by, especially for Stanley turning 102."

He added, "Be well, Stanley. Thank you for your service to our country! See you next year!"

"My father was very honored to serve his country. To this day he feels blessed and thankful for all that we have here in America." 

— Daughter Carol DeAngelis

Carol DeAngelis told Fox News Digital how happy her father, Stanley, was about all the attention on his birthday and how much she and her family appreciated the thoughtful gesture from so many. "He was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the community," she said.

She also said her dad was sorry more people couldn't attend because of COVID, including his own son, David, and his daughter-in-law, Lorrie. 

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Of his time spent in the military during World War II, DeAngelis said, "My father was very honored to serve his country. To this day he feels blessed and thankful for all that we have here in America." 

Tauber served in the Army Air Corps from 1942-1945. He was a staff sergeant in the 500th Bomb Squadron in New Guinea, South Pacific. 

Members of the local American Legion Auxiliary lined up in their cars for the procession to honor WWII veteran Stanley Tauber on Dec. 31, 2021.

Members of the local American Legion Auxiliary lined up in their cars for the procession to honor WWII veteran Stanley Tauber on Dec. 31, 2021. (Maureen Mackey / Fox News Digital)

Originally from Yonkers, New York, he joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 200 in 1959 and served as commander of the post in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 2000 — then as quartermaster for 12 additional years.

For over 70 years he's made his home in New York's lower Hudson Valley, where he and his late wife, Virginia, raised their daughter, Carol, and their son, David. 

He is the proud grandfather of five grandchildren and two great-granddaughters as well.

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His family says that in addition to "being a devoted husband and father," he excelled in his career as a tool and die maker for over 35 years. He worked at the Anaconda Wire & Cable manufacturing plant, which was located Hastings-in-Hudson for many years, and at Refined Sugars & Syrups in Yonkers as well. 

He remembers hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 as a young man. "I was just devastated. I couldn't get over that anybody would bomb our country," he said a few years ago during a video interview as part of a "Veterans Living History" project done in Greenburgh, N.Y.

The USS West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona battleships are shown damaged and burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. "I wanted to help save our country," said veteran Stanley Tauber of New York about his entry into the service when he was a very young man. Tauber is now 102 years old.

The USS West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona battleships are shown damaged and burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. "I wanted to help save our country," said veteran Stanley Tauber of New York about his entry into the service when he was a very young man. Tauber is now 102 years old. (AP)

He did not have to go into the service, he said — but "I volunteered because I wanted to help save our country." 

After he enlisted, he did his basic training in Atlantic City, N.J., then transferred to the Air Force, he said. From there, he went to Denver, Colorado, for armament training.

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"I went overseas around March 1943," he said, and "we went from California to Brisbane, Australia, and then" eventually over to Port Moresby, in New Guinea, South Pacific. "I was there to save our country and to do whatever it [took] to save our country. I couldn't see any [other nation] taking over the United States of America."

In 2017, Tauber was honored in his hometown of Hastings during the village's Memorial Day Parade; he served as parade grand marshal. In 2019, his hometown declared December 31st as Stanley Tauber Day in recognition of his 100th birthday.

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Members of the American Legion Auxiliary who cheered on Tauber for his 102nd birthday said of the experience, "We were glad to be there for him."

A veteran who took part said, "It was great. It was the right thing to do."

To see one view of the parade for Tauber's 102nd birthday, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it