Rockford WWII veteran honored with parade for 100th birthday


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford resident is celebrating his century milestone. We were there for the drive-by salute for the World War Two veteran.

“Beautiful, beautiful, I’m impressed by everything that’s happened here. I can’t believe it,” said WWII veteran Sam Caruana.

Saturday, Caruana celebrated his 100th birthday. To commemorate his time in our armed forces, Vets Roll held a drive-thru parade outside his Rockford home. Caruana wants people to understand why it’s still important we celebrate WWII veterans.

“Realize what’s happened in the past so that you can, you know, think about what’s happening today and realize who before you went through what we went through,” he said.

Mark Finnegan started Vets Roll to honor WWII veterans like his father, who passed away in 2000. He says while they have done several celebrations, they are all significant.

“There’s 13 of our VetsROLL veterans that are either aging 99 to 105 this year and so since we’re not on the road for our VetsROLL trip, we’re making sure that they know that we remember what they did. Sam Caruana’s our hero today and man, what an awesome turnout we have here. This is great,” Finnegan said.

Finnegan says what Caruana was able to accomplish during his time in the military was truly remarkable.

“He’s a veteran of the Army, he was a Ford Field Observer, 5 different battle campaigns plus he’s liberated a concentration camp too. Just incredible, they don’t make’em like that anymore,” added Finnegan.

Caruana says the drive-thru parade caught him by surprise and he grateful for everyone who continues to support our military.

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