WWII vet celebrated with salute, love on 100th birthday


EL CAJON, Calif. — A World War II decorated veteran celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday morning with the help of Honor Flight San Diego.

Family, friends and retired military veterans drove by in their vehicles waving, honking, shouting and wishing Paul Bottoms a happy birthday.

“I’m just beyond words right now,” he said.

Bottoms was born Dec. 13, 1921. Originally from Arkansas, he moved to San Diego when he enlisted in the military. Bottoms served three years in the U.S Army and 20 years in the U.S. Navy.

“Paul landed on Utah Beach, two days after D-Day,” said Julie Brightwell, chairman of San Diego Honor Flight. “We are very grateful for everything he did for our country.”

Bottoms’ duty was to protect a battery of 105 Howitzers against any threat on the ground or air when his platoon landed on Utah Beach in France. Bottoms was decorated with a bronze star after the battle.

When asked what he remembered, he stated not much since many years have passed by.  

“When those military guys saluted him, it was overwhelming,” said Nina Gordon, one of his daughters visiting from Alabama.

Gordon says his father has never had cancer, stroke nor a heart attack and is as healthy as a 100-year-old can be.

“He always laughs and says good clean living and no conscious,” Gordon said. “Yeah I don’t know, I know he has good stock. I hope I follow suit.”

Bottoms provided advice for the younger folks, saying “just live and let live.”

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