World War II veteran celebrates 97th birthday

Charles Neighbor is a full time resident of Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, but...
Charles Neighbor is a full time resident of Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, but enjoyed a party on the patio Monday for his birthday.(WDBJ7)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:59 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Throughout his lifetime, Chuck Neighbor has celebrated a few birthdays.

Monday’s celebration at Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had all the normal makings of a party, from cake, cards, presents, and guests.

But it was the time spent reflecting that made this celebration one to remember.

“I think about what I was doing when I was 19, it was nothing compared to storming the beaches of Normandy,” laughed Keith Neighbor, Chuck’s son.

A Kansas native, Chuck was drafted into World War II as a teenager, and took on one of the most dangerous jobs.

“In 1944, June the 6th, he was a flame thrower, which was the first guy that the enemy wanted to take out,” said Morris Bennett, an associate member of the 29th Division Post 64 Association.

Neighbor was a member of the famous 29th Infantry Division, the same division as the Bedford boys.

Life-threatening injuries sent him away from the front lines and into a new life, one that would include a wife of 50 years and four children, including Keith, his second oldest.

“To know that he’s loved and appreciated, and all the hard work that he did, saving this country during World War II and also raising us as children,” said Keith.

While it’s impossible to know when something will be the last, its important to celebrate it as such.

“Because he has lived a life worth celebrating,” said Keith.

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