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KOKOMO, Ind. (Tribune News Service) — Milt Brown smiled and softly waved his hand Monday afternoon at the caravan of police cars, firetrucks and numerous other vehicles that carried small American flags and passed by his southside home.

The small parade was part of a 95th birthday tribute to Brown — a World War II U.S. Navy veteran and member of the Greatest Generation.

And because tomorrow isn't guaranteed, Brown made sure he soaked in every moment of the day's festivities, too.

Along with the drive-by, members of the Indiana University Kokomo choir also went by Brown's house Monday to sing "Happy Birthday," and members of the VFW Post 1152 and other military organizations stopped by to pay tribute.

"The main thing is we just need some goodness right now," VFW Post 1152 Commander John Meeks told the Tribune on Monday before the caravan began its route to Brown's house. "... This is going to put a smile on a WWII veteran's face. I flat guarantee you that, and it's just so neat to be able to do that. I hope it's one of the best birthdays he's ever had."

U.S. Navy Culinary Spec. 2nd Class Zhane Smith agreed with Meeks, adding that he was honored to be able to present an American flag to Brown as a birthday gift from the military.

"I like being able to help out these guys that served in the past," Smith said. "It's something that'll probably make him happy. ... My grandpa served. His dad served. So it's just one of those things that you kind of honor the people because I feel like they had it a lot harder than I do now. They went through a lot more and saw a lot more.

"So it's a big honor to help and support him (Brown) out on his birthday," Smith added. "I hope he feels the joy and just the love that this community has for him and that his service actually meant something to these people. It's definitely something to celebrate."

Sam Schrock and Emma Kahn are Brown's caretakers, and the pair admitted that seeing the parade of vehicles and the accolades that followed was humbling and emotional.

"I just hope he can see (though the celebration) how much people care about him," Kahn said, acknowledging that Monday would probably be one of the biggest highlights of Brown's year. "I think it's kind of hard on him sometimes because his kids don't live in town, and the only people he really hangs out with is us. But I hope he just understands that it's not just us. I hope he understands that there are a lot of people that still care about him and are happy that he's here."

And as for the man of the hour, Brown said Monday's celebration was a really nice tribute that won't soon be forgotten.

"It's wonderful," Brown said with a chuckle. "I didn't expect it to be such a big celebration. ... It's a wonderful surprise, and I really appreciate all of it."

(c)2022 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)

Visit the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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