LOS ANGELES, CA — If ever the American spirit needed a boost, it’s today as we face the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. And who better to give that boost than 104-year-old WWII veteran Sam Sachs?
Sachs, a member of the 82nd Airborne’s 325th Glider Infantry Regiment that landed on the shores of Normandy on D-Day, donned his colonel’s uniform and put out a call for birthday cards this month. The coronavirus outbreak forced him to cancel his upcoming 105th birthday bash, but it can’t stop him from celebrating a life well-lived. The spunky centenarian and former teacher is sharing his big day with the world, and he’s even hoping to get a card from the president.
“Now I am wondering how many birthday cards I will get,” he said. “I hope I get many of them, and I’m also asking our president to send me a card also. What a thrill that would be!”
In the video posted to youtube, Sachs rallied the troops for his celebration.
“I was going to have a birthday party for my 105th birthday, but the virus took charge, and that was canceled,” he said. “Now I was in the service during WWII, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, 325th Glider Infantry. We landed on the morning of D-Day in Normandy to liberate France and Europe. Now that this has been canceled, I am sending this out to all of you who read this to send me a birthday card to take (the) place of the event that should have happened at the birthday party.”
How do you say no that?
You don’t, according to the mayor of Lakewood, who is asking the public to step up and send cards to the WWII veteran.
Sam Sachs’ senior living home in Lakewood was “planning a fancy 105th birthday celebration for him, but the party now has to be re-imagined because of the coronavirus and the dangers of bringing people together for a gathering,” Mayor Todd Rogers said in a video message. “Because of this, I’d like to ask that we all consider helping with this redesigned 105th birthday party for Sam by writing him a birthday card.”
The cards can be sent to: Mom and Dad’s House, c/o Lt. Col. Sam Sachs, 4340 Conquista Ave., Lakewood, CA 90713.
The mayor noted that the cards will be set aside for several days once they are received and then opened with gloves “to be extra careful for Sam,” who will turn 105 on April 26.
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The city is working with Sachs’ senior living home on additional ways the community can help celebrate “Sam’s special milestone birthday,” Rogers added.
A surprise “car parade” in front of the house is also in the works for Sachs’ birthday, Ivonne Meader, who owns the senior living home where Sachs lives. Meader had planned a “very big party” that would have included Sachs’ family members traveling to the Southland from out of state. Sachs is “the oldest client I’ve ever had” and “very, very sharp,” she said.
She said the pandemic forced her to change course and launch the birthday card drive that had garnered about 50 to 60 cards from people in California, Nevada, Oregon, New York, South Carolina and Florida as of Friday afternoon.
Hopes are high for Sachs to get cards from throughout the world, including homemade ones from children, she said. The cards would be a chance for Americans stuck at home to share in the joy of Sach’s birthday while doing something kind for the WWII vet.
“He wants a lot of cards,” Meader said. “This is a big milestone for him.”
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City News Service contributed to this report.