WESTCHESTER, Ill. - Birthdays might be harder to celebrate with family and friends these days, but John Ullinskey of west suburban Westchester may have had his best birthday ever.
For the first time in his 96 years, the World War II veteran enjoyed a birthday parade.
The Westchester police and fire departments led the charge, some 70 vehicles in all, saluting the birthday boy on Wednesday.
Ullinskey is a celebrity in Westchester, not just because of his senior status or his service to his country, but for his gregarious personality and love of life.
He took part in the invasion of Normandy and later fought in Okinawa in the Pacific. He's seen a lot but nothing he says like the challenge we're all facing today.
He says he's staying in his house doing what he's told, and when evening comes, he carries on a long-standing tradition.
"I've been drinking a Manhattan every night since 1945 and I’m not going to quit now,” he said, laughing.
Ullinskey is especially grateful to his long time neighbor. Sue Gieger and the organizers of the parade. It’s a group he's been an ambassador for throughout the last several years: Honor Flight Chicago.