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WWII vet surprised with special 96th birthday parade

With all Honor Flight trips canceled this year, the organization decided to surprise WWII veteran Ralph Sylvester on his birthday with a drive-by parade.

AUBURN, Maine — A lot has changed during these times of COVID-19, and the way Mainers honor our veterans is no exception.

The community held a special drive by parade Saturday in Auburn for WWII veteran Ralph Sylvester, who served in the 295th Engineer Combat Battalion Company B. Sylvester, who turned 96 years young Saturday, is also an Honor Flight ambassador. 

Sylvester was one of 11 young men from Auburn that left, trained, and returned together after their service in WWII. 

Honor Flight, a non-profit organization created to honor American veterans, each year sends heroes to Washington, D.C. to tour, experience, and reflect at their memorials. Sylvester is a constant presence at the organizations' send-offs and greetings of those veterans who make the trip to D.C.

Although all Honor Flights have been canceled for this year, folks from the organization say, “If we can’t fly, we will drive by!"

"I never expected this," Sylvester said of the surprise. "I'm flabbergasted that it could happen."

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