According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, about 122,000 World War II Veterans are still alive. The majority are in their 90s or older, and over 200 pass away every day. But one of them is still alive and celebrating his 100th birthday with panache. Earl Angel was born in August of 1923 and served in the Army as a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne. Mr. Angel is highly honored and decorated, enshrined in several monuments commemorating the WW II war heroes in Washington, D.C., and in museums in New Orleans and New York.
Mr. Angel is also a Purple Heart recipient. In fact, for his 96th birthday, he danced to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to raise money for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. While this video is fun and whimsical, Mr. Angel’s war experience that made him a recipient of the medal was not.
“You know, I was shot in the head. You can’t believe that, can you?” he said. “I got shot right in the head, right through my eyebrow. You would never know it today? I had 32 stitches right there, and I laid in the foxhole for three days before they took me to the hospital.”
But Mr. Angel’s love story with his wife of 80 years trumps even this. He lovingly described how he met Alice, his wife. Both were teenagers enjoying time together in the town square shortly before the war broke out.
Earl described the conversation Alice had with a friend before they met.
“What about that fella that came up to the car? What about him?” her girlfriend said. “Would you like to have a date with him?”
She said, “Would I? Yes.”
You see about every day, Earl, who lives at home with help from home care services at Home Instead, rolls up and sees his wife who lives in a long-term care facility.
How precious is that? Alice expressed her love for Mr. Angel and how she relies on his daily visits.
“I just feel good because he’s here. And I miss him when he’s not here,” Alice said. “I often cry at night because he’s not with me.”
Both said it was love at first sight.
If you listen to her version of that fateful first meeting, it sure sounds remarkably similar.
“He came up to the car, and he started to talk, and I thought he’s the cutest little guy I’ve ever seen,” she said.
It is a major accomplishment to reach the age of 100, mobile, relatively healthy, with your faculties intact. It is quite another to still have the love of your life by your side. In Earl Angel’s life of bravery, courage, commitment, and steadfastness, he exemplifies why they are called “The Greatest Generation.”
“I love you,” Alice told Earl in front of our cameras. “I love you too, baby,” Earl said to Alice.
We would be blessed to experience one or the other. Earl Angel receives the double blessing of years and a companion to share those years with.
What a beautiful way to welcome in 100.