WWII veteran celebrates 101st birthday


For World War II veteran John Henry of Pickens, it was all in God’s plan for him to still be around, even after 101 years, he says.

“Thing about me is, I don’t think I’ll be here for another hundred years, and the Lord’s blessed me to make it this far,” Henry said. “I’ll be starting all over again and turning one.”

Henry turned 101 yesterday, born in Pickens in far northern Madison County as an only child on September 30, 1919, to Dewey and Heastie Henry. He said he’s feeling great for his age and doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

“I’m doing pretty good, to be honest with you,” he said. “I can’t get around as well as I used to but I’m thankful I can still get around at all.”

World War II veteran John Henry turned 101 on September 30. He sees it as God's plan that he's still living today.

During World War II, Henry served as a private first class truck driver, delivering rations, bombs, shells, and more.

“When I left for the war, I didn’t know how to drive anything besides a mule and a wagon,” he said. “I remember the truck I drove having a big gun on it. I never had to shoot at anyone, though, and I never got myself hurt or hurt anyone.”

Henry’s most vivid memory of the war was when he got locked inside a hospital during a mission where he and other soldiers went to speak to the patients about the Bible, and the doors slammed shut behind them.

“I’ve never been to prison or been arrested for anything, so that’s the only time I’ve ever been locked up,” he said.

After Henry returned from the war, he married his now late wife Katherine at the age of 27 and they started a family.

“I’ve remained here for most of my life as a farmer, so I didn’t do a lot of running around and all that kind of stuff,” he said.

Henry never imagined seeing the world change into what it is today with tractors and machines replacing plows and mules.

“There’s been so many changes during my lifetime, but I’ve just gone with the flow,” he said. “Although back in the thirties and forties, I didn’t even think about how advanced things would become.”

He credits his long life as a blessing from God, and he made sure his body remained healthy and strong throughout the years by staying active and growing his own food.

“If you’re going to live as long as I have, it’s all in the Lord’s plan,” he said. “It’s His plan of who comes along with me and who passes on.”

Henry’s daughter, Johnnie Henry, is excited and impressed that her father is turning 101.

“I feel really good,” she said. “You don’t see a lot of people that old around these parts anymore

living like he is.”

Henry said her father still gets around well enough and enjoys things like hunting and fishing in his spare time, even though he has to have someone go with him. She also noted that it’s a good thing to listen to your parents.

“Appreciate your folks,” she said. “Take notes. With the way things are now, you see a lot of young people who die because of drugs, getting shot…keep your hand in God’s hand. Listen to your parents, go to church, and appreciate life.”

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