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Alan Cameron waves to people driving by his Pearl River, New York, home to congratulate him on his 101st birthday April 13, 2020. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. – Alan Cameroncelebrated his 101st birthday in the age of social distancing. But the World War II veteran was not alone.

On Monday, vehicles paraded by to wish Cameron well. His actual birthday was Sunday.

“He and all of us were surprised,” his daughter, Debbie David, said. “We thought, ‘Where are all of these cars coming from?”

Police helped to organize the procession; Pearl River Fire Department and neighbors participated.

Cameron served in France, his daughter said, and then headed to Germany after the war to help investigate war crimes. He remained in the Army Reserves for years after, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

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After the war, Cameron worked in New York City in marketing, “for brands that no longer exist,” David said. Later, he worked as a real estate agent and then brushed up on the court reporting skills he had used in the Army and worked for local municipalities. He retired in the early 1980s.

“He’s amazing,” said Michael Finer, his neighbor for about 40 years. Cameron has talked little about his service in the war, said Finer, 68. “They’re a different generation. He is an unbelievable gentleman.”

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People wave to Alan Cameron as they drive by his Pearl River home to congratulate him on his 101st birthday April 13, 2020.  (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

Cameron was originally from California. While stationed at Camp Shanks in New York, waiting to be shipped out, he went to a dance and met Jane Bocket. They knew each other for about a week, David said, then communicated by mail when Cameron was overseas. Cameron vowed to come back when the war was over and marry Jane. And he did.

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Jane died in 2009. Her husband still resides on Bocket Road, named for her family.

A long line of cars drive by Alan Cameron’s home to congratulate him on his 101st birthday April 13, 2020. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

Cameron has had his health challenges, but David said her dad is still doing well. Nowadays, “his walk is up and down his driveway.” But, she said, Cameron remains active and alert. And, he’s appreciative of his neighbors’ birthday greetings. 

Follow reporter Nancy Cutler on Twitter at @nancyrockland

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/13/coronavirus-social-distancing-birthday-salute-wwii-vet-pearl-river/2984586001/



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