‘God Has Been Good To Me’: WWII Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday With Drive-By Parade

Celebrating a 100th birthday milestone is no small deal and calls for a huge celebration to mark that important day.

A parade fit for a centennial birthday celebration

It was a day like no other when almost 50 cars, trucks, and motorcycles circled Mt. Pleasant Mennonite Church in Chesapeake, VA on Saturday for World War II veteran Bill Macomber’s centennial birthday celebration. The pandemic has caused birthday parties to become drive-by birthday parades, allowing family and friends to celebrate together, but from a distance due to COVID-19.

Posted by Ruth Smithson Wood on Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bill Macomber turned 100 on Aug 6, but sadly his family members were not able to arrange a drive-by party so it was rescheduled to another day. His daughter, Cherry Smithson organizes the event to honor her dad’s big day. She said they would not allow anything to get in the way not even the bad weather.

“We stopped looking at the weather forecast,” Smithson said. “We have been looking so forward to this.” She said she used to tell her father, “You have to make it to your 100th birthday,” she explained. And now that he has seen his 100th birthday, she wants him to see his wife’s 100th birthday. “I tell him, you have to make it to her 100th. It means the world to me to have them both here,” Smithson added.

Married for 76 years


His wife, Helen Macomber will be 99-years-old in November and they’ve been married for 76 years. Their love is as strong today as it was when they were first married. Mr. Macomber, who is originally from Georgia, settled in Virginia during the 1940s after serving in the Navy. While in the military, he was assigned to the USS New Mexico. He has kept himself busy with woodworking and his favorite pastime — scroll- saw art.

Strong faith in the Lord

At the age of 56 he went to Bolivia on a mission trip to work as a carpenter and handyman and learned how to build classrooms, desks, and chapel benches “because he felt that the Lord told him to go,” Smithson explained. He has learned how to have unshaken faith in the Heavenly Father during his long life.

Mr. Macomber cited Psalm 121 as the source for his hope:

I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

God is his strength


“He’s been good to me…to let me live this long,” Mr. Macomber said. “He must have something He wants me to do.” He still has his great sense of humor intact and when he was asked how it felt to be 100-years-old, he said “like it feels to be 99.”

Psalm 91:16 “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”


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