WWII vet turns 100 two days before Independence Day

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — “I feel pretty good,” said Nathan Alessandra, who turned 100 on July 2. His family and the village of Hamburg surprised him with a parade and ceremony Saturday in his honor.

“I never realized that there would be so many people that would come out to celebrate my birthday,” Alessandra said of his hundredth trip around the sun.

Alessandra served in the U.S. Air Force near Rackheath, England for most of his service during World War II. He received the European African Middle Eastern Service Ribbon, American Theatre Service Ribbon, and World War II Victory Medal.

He was one of four brothers who served our country during the war, and said he thinks about them a lot. “I dedicate this day to my three other brothers who served in the service,” Alessandra said. “One, in particular, passed away in the South Pacific.”

His brother, Alfred, was killed in combat two months before the war ended. He accepted the Purple Heart in Alfred’s honor. “I always think about him,” Alessandra said. “He’s always in my mind.”

Alessandra’s love for his family continues to grow today. His family traveled from all over the country to surprise him. His granddaughter, Kelly Perkins, traveled from Seattle to celebrate the man that always showed up for her and for his community. “He’s always involved,” she said. “He’s on that scooter every day running around Hamburg looking for things to do. He likes people and always would do everything he could to help people.”

Everyone who knows Pops knows he’s 100 years young. According to his family, he’s on Facebook, has the latest iPhone, and loves to watch Buffalo sports. And if you’re wondering what’s the key to his youthfulness, he said it’s love from his family.

“They keep me going. I got a beautiful family,” Alessandra said. “I love them dearly and they love me. It means a lot.”

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