WWII veteran in Mount Vernon, Mo. celebrates his 100th birthday on Sunday
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - According to the National WWII Museum, around 234 WWII veterans die daily. One WWII veteran in the Missouri Veterans Home in Mount Vernon defies these odds.
Raymond “Bud” Clauson turned 100 years old on Sunday. Bud served in the U.S. Navy and went overseas when he was only 20.
“I was on the USS Neville for 2 1/2 years,” Bud said. “We made four landings while I was on there.”
Bud said while deployed, he went to Sicily, Macon Islands, Enewetak Islands, and Saipan.
However, Bud said while the experience was remarkable, it was also tough to witness. He said he saw many dead while in Saipan.
“There were hundreds of bodies floating in the ocean out to sea,” Bud said.
Bud’s daughter, Sally McFarlen, said her father did not talk much about his time in the military growing up, but he started to open up about it as she and her brother, Gary Clauson, grew older.
McFarlen said her father exemplified strong qualities that she’s thankful every day to have been taught.
“He was a great dad, my brother and I had wonderful classic American childhoods,” McFarlen said. “He taught us to have strong values, to love the Lord, and to have a strong work ethic.”
McFarlen recalled when she was only a teenager, she worked up to afford a horse, and her brother worked to afford his Jeep. She said without having that strong work ethic, and perseverance Bud always taught her to have, she wouldn’t be the person she is today.
Bud said he was married to Sally and Gary’s mother for 60 years, and even when their mother, Marilyn, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Bud was there by her side. Marilyn passed away in 2018 due to the disease, but Bud still remembers her as a smart, strict, and kind wife and mother to their two children.
Bud now resides in veterans home in Mount Vernon. He said he is grateful every day for all of his blessings.
“I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to live in this beautiful country and that we had the opportunity to travel to other countries,” Bud said. “This country is better than any other place on Earth.”
McFarlen, Bud, and his caregivers at the veterans home are extremely excited to celebrate his milestone 100th birthday on Aug. 7. Bud will be surrounded by many of his family and friends on that day.
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