Birthdays are a time for celebration, yes, but they're also a time for remembrance. We can look back at not only our previous year but all we've learned in life thus far, all we've experienced and gathered along the way.
The older we get, the richer those experiences become, the more varied. They start becoming stories we tell others of our own youth, legacies we share and enjoy every time we get to think of them again.
Some people have accomplished amazing things in the story of their life, things that deserve to be honored every time their birthday comes around.
If you have anxieties and doubts that are holding you back from creating that legacy you want to leave behind, then you're not alone. Thankfully, there are tools that can help, like this free audio program.
Another Year Older
Not everyone is keen on celebrating their birthday in a bright and flashy way, but they're still important to acknowledge! If you're not the type to be excited about aging, then you can at least celebrate spending another year alive, experiencing new things and taking in new sights whenever possible.
Though birthdays are best spent with loved ones, especially family, some people don't have anyone left to spend the day with. When that was the case for one very special man, someone put out a call to grant him as many birthday wishes as possible, and people showed up big time.
A History Of Service
Ernest Horsfall is a World War II veteran who recently celebrated his 105th birthday. He was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1918, growing up to serve in the English military during the Blitz before he joined the allied campaign in North Africa. After that, he went to Italy to maintain ally tanks.
He also served with the Army Ordnance Corps in London in 1940, expressing that he feels lucky to be alive after being part of immense conflict.
His Following Career
"There would be swarms of Nazi bombers flying overhead all night and I knew many people that were injured or worse," he recalled of his time spent serving. “On one occasion, our guard room was hit and six of my pals were killed, I was just lucky it wasn't my duty that night.”
There's no doubt that tons of people are grateful for his life of service.
After he was a sergeant in the British Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, he decided to learn how to fly at 43 years old. He was then a private pilot for the next 50 years.
A Call To Arms
Horsfall was married, too. He and his wife were together for 57 years before she passed. They had a son together, and Horsfall's sister was one of his only remaining family members, but both have passed by now, meaning he was left alone on his big day.
The Royal British Legion thought this too tragic to let pass, so they put out a call, wanting the ex-serviceman to be honored for such a monumentous birthday celebration. They asked for anyone who was wanting and able to send a card his way so he could know how much he was loved and appreciated.
Showings Of Love
People around the world heard that call loud and clear, and Horsfall got to wake up to over 3000 birthday cards on his big day.
He said he was "surprised and amazed" to see how many people wrote to him wishing him a happy birthday and thanking him for his service. He spent his day opening each card, but he wasn't completely alone, as his 63-year-old girlfriend from Iceland, Margaret, also flew int o spend time with him.
Among the cards were some rather famous finds, including a card and well wishes from current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Though, this isn't the first Prime Minister Ernest has met, as he got to shake hands with a few ever since leaving the armed forces.
Rachel Venables, the membership engagement manager for the Royal British Legion who launched this birthday campaign, said the sacrifice of people like Horsfall will "never be forgotten."
"The Second World War generation is inevitably diminishing, but occasions like this are an opportunity for the RBL to remind everyone that their service and sacrifice means something and will never be forgotten," she continued.
Those who remain, though, are still hopeful for the future and enjoying what time they have left.
As for Horsfall, he shared a piece of advice for those looking to make it as long as he has. "The secret to a long life is to keep living as happy as you can and keep a straight mind," he said.
The Past And Present
Though Horsfall has experienced things most of us couldn't even fathom, things we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy, he still has leagues of people who adore him and all he stands for, as his life of service helped endless amounts of people.
And even though he's gone through such things, atop personal tragedies like the loss of his family, he still keeps a smile on his face and encourages others to be as happy as they possibly can. It's great advice from an admirable man, happy birthday Earnest!
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