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World War II vet celebrates 97th birthday with birthday parade

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
World War II Veteran Frank McKay watches a drive by birthday parade in honor of his 97th birthday in Marietta on Saturday.

World War II Veteran Frank McKay celebrated his 97th birthday with a parade outside of his daughter’s home in Marietta. Dozens of vehicles decorated with American flags and happy birthday signs drove past shouting their birthday wishes to McKay as he waved from a safe distance.

McKay served in the United States Navy after enlisting in May of 1944 where he achieved the rank of Coxswain and steered his ship’s landing craft. He served for two years before being honorably discharged in May of 1946. During his time in the Navy he spent time in the Philippines and Japan where he witnessed the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi after the Battle of Iwo Jima. He received the Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the Pacific Campaign Medal for his service.

McKay’s older brother, Fred McKay, who passed away last September at the age of 97, also served in World War II. He was a member of the 105th Field Artillery Division in Europe with the United States Army.

After leaving the military, McKay farmed and ranched his property in rural Love County where he raised cotton, corn and cattle. He also worked at the local cotton gin and at livestock sales. He worked briefly for the railroad and construction crews where he helped build Interstate 35 across Love County.

He enjoys spending his spare time with friends and family and is a member of the Brunch Brothers Post 136 of the American Legion in Marietta.

According to his grandson, Nic Mcmillin, McKay typically celebrates his birthday along with his daughter, Luann Mcmillain who was born on his 33rd birthday, with a large party with other family members and friends. The family chose to hold the parade this year because of concerns about the coronavirus.