The veteran’s face lit up with joy as he received heartfelt congratulations.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger of the fifth district—representing a portion of the San Gabriel Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley, the Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley—carved out time to be present for a birthday party organized for World War II veteran Kenneth Anhalt in his Sierra Madre home on April 15.
“Being able to honor Kenneth Anhalt on his 100th birthday and personally thank him for his military service is something I will never forget,” Barger, a board member since 2016, said in a statement.
Anhalt's face reportedly lit up with joy as he received heartfelt congratulations and admiration from members of the community who came to honor his exceptional accomplishments during his illustrious military career in World War II.
Anhalt, a Bronx and Queens native, served in the U.S. Air Forces during World War II, flying 28 bombing missions as a tail-gunner on a B-25 Liberator against Nazi-occupied Europe and Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with two clusters and a battle star for his heroic achievements.
After the war, he attended Pasadena City College, worked as a quality engineer at JPL until retirement, and served in various community organizations including the Sierra Madre Police Commission, Kiwanis Club, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3208. He has been married for 76 years to his wife Shirley Abbney Miller.
“His bravery and resilience is inspiring, as is his ongoing local community service that persisted well after his military service ended. I am very happy that our community has gathered around Kenneth on his special day to show him how appreciated he is,” Barger said.
Congresswoman Judy Chu was joined by Jim Zenner, the Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles County, as well as members of the American Legion STAR Post and Temple Station from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were also present at Anhalt’s birthday party.
"Our brave World War II veterans fought tenaciously to defend our nation against an adversary that would have undoubtedly robbed us of our American identity and way of life," Jim Zenner, Director of Military and Veterans Affairs for L.A. County, said in a statement. "Thanks to the courageous service of Americans like Mr. Anhalt, we can relish our liberty and way of life."
World War II veterans were part of a generation that faced enormous challenges and made significant sacrifices to defend their countries and protect freedom and democracy. They served in various capacities, including as soldiers, pilots, sailors, nurses, and support personnel, and participated in major battles and campaigns across different theaters of war.