Local World War 2 veteran celebrates his 103rd birthday

Local News

CANTON, Ill.– Saturday, January 25th, 2020 marked a milestone for John Barclay, World War 2 veteran, that not many people can accomplish.

This was the day Barclay celebrated his 103rd birthday at Red Oaks Estates nursing home. This was also a day that his youngest daughter, Bonnie Williams, was happy for her father to experience.

“We’re very proud and very pleased that he feels good enough to have it,” Williams said.

Williams said her father was recently in the hospital. She said her family always prays her father will be able to see another birthday and she said he’s able to do so because of his heart.

“He’ll tell you he doesn’t know why God’s letting him live this long,” Williams said. “But I always tell him ‘because you make people smile.”

Apparently Barclay is able to make people all over the world smile as he received over 360 birthday cards from more than seven countries.

Kori Gray, Barclay’s granddaughter, said she initially thought it would be interesting to see if her grandfather could get a card from every state so she posted card requests on Facebook. She said people began sharing her posts and before she knew it the cards came flooding in.

“The first day I think there was about 20 and I was like ‘Woah, that’s unreal,” Gray said. “And yesterday it was 55 and 52 today and it’s just amazing. He sits and reads every single card.”

While celebrating turning 103 years old surrounded by family members and photos on each table of his time in the war, Barclay had a simple reaction.

“It’s just another day,” Barclay said.

In addition to his time in the army, Barclay had also joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, owned his own restaurant and now has four generations of family members under his belt.

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