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WWII veteran celebrates centennial birthday with parade

Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 11:25:01-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A parade of cars and motorcycles circled around the Jewish Community Center's parking lot on Sunday for a local World War II veteran's centennial birthday celebration.

"Why is everybody here today? Well, you better ask them (family members)," said Mike Katzman, who turns 100 years old on Monday. "I think it's because I am so good looking."

While he might be joking, he is here for a reason.

"I am one of the luckiest guys in the world to hit 100," Katzman said.

He enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 and served as a specialist in Texas and five other bases and schools throughout the United States.

His family wanted to throw him a party at the Jewish Community Center, where he loves to workout, but COVID-19 struck.

Instead, he had a parade of family, friends and fellow veterans who drove by to say, "Happy birthday."

He has a few secrets to living this long: working out, giving to others and his special diet from when he was a child.

"My special diet was bologna. I grew up with bologna," Katzman said.

He didn't get a big party, but the veteran said being alive and able to continue his passion for helping veterans every day makes him happy he's turning 100.