WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County veteran celebrated a very special birthday.
John Bartone of Irwin turned 100 years old on Friday.
“I’m in good health,” Bartone said. “As long as you’re in good health, the age doesn’t make any difference.”
One hundred birthdays of good health and a century worth of memories and accomplishments.
The veteran married his childhood sweetheart and proposed at the time of a very significant day in history.
“We were in the car and just as we got through giving her the ring, and I had the radio on, they said Pearl Harbor was bombed,” Bartone said.
Bartone’s tour of duty in the Army was from 1943-1945 when he was a heavy gunner in a unit known as the “Red Bulls”.
The war brings back some memories not so happy to recall and the horror of concentration camps.
“It was inhumane,” Bartone said. “It was impossible to even understand.”
After countless letters and six major battles, Bartone made it home to his sweetheart with four Bronze Stars and a special gift.
He brought with him silk from an Army parachute.
“I wanted my aunt to make a wedding dress, it was pure silk,” Bartone said.
Bartone’s life at home was full, as well. He was a machinist for 46 years at Mine Safety Appliances in Wilkinsburg.
And he got a taste of show biz, too. He was also a professional singer and performed at social clubs.