MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – On Saturday, June 14th, America celebrated Old Glory and the birthday of the United States Army.
Meanwhile, a small crowd gathered at Moontown Airport to celebrate the birthday of a World War Two veteran.
It was a surprise party for 90-year-old Harold McMurran and his wife, Ruth.
Just after 12pm, Spring Sneed entered a small room and announced, “Allright, we’re about to sing happy birthday to Grandmother and Grandpa McMurran. It’s their 85th and 90th birthday.
And the crowd responded on the count of three, singing “Happy birthday to you..”
It was a surprise pulled off by the granddaughter of the McMurrans, who drove from Arkansas to do it.
“He said you need to tell me what’s going on and don’t lie to me,” said Spring Sneed about her conversation with her grandfather when he pressed her about the people gathering.
“I thought something was up but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was,” said Harold McMurran.
“I didn’t dream all this was going on,” said Ruth McMurran.
She and Harold have been together nearly 67 years.
Some things have changed. Some things haven’t.
WHNT NEWS 19 asked the aircraft repairman what he planned to do, now that he’s 90.
“Repair aircraft,” he answered.
He still does it full-time at the Moontown Airport, as he has for decades. “Cessnas, Pipers, Moonies, Beach.. most any… up through light twins.”
And that’s part of his secret to longevity.
“Stay busy,” Harold McMurran said. “You’ve got to stay occupied with something you like.”
His wife has her own secret to longevity and love. “Live right and keep a good husband,” she said with a laugh.
Their family and friends came out to enjoy a meal and share memories with them.
One memory in particular, on this patriotic weekend, choked up the WW2 veteran: surviving D-Day.
“It’s something in the past,” he said. Then, he paused as tears formed in his eyes. “I hope that none of the younger ones have to do what we did. I hope history does not repeat itself.”
“He is my hero,” said his granddaughter, Spring. “I have always loved to hear his war stories.”
And for this weekend, it’s all about the present — 90 years of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in America.
“How do you feel?” WHNT NEWS 19’s Beth Jett asked him. “Like I’m 50!” he said.
Harold and Ruth will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary, this fourth of July.
Congratulations from all of us here at WHNT NEWS 19!