World War II veteran 'humbled' after drive-by parade for 98th birthday
For a man who said he was at a loss for words, Bob Piper still came up with a few.
"Can't believe this."
The Naperville resident and World War II veteran stood with his walker in his driveway Friday afternoon, seemingly shocked at the attention he received as dozens of cars and motorcycles driven by friends and members of area veterans groups held a drive-by parade honoring his 98th birthday.
"I'm not usually at a lack of words, but I am really kind of speechless," Piper said. "It's so shocking, so different, so unexpected."
"Why are these people doing this? They must have better things to do," he said.
The question drew a teasing response from a neighbor: "Just goes to show you there's not a hell of a lot to do right now."
Piper served in the Navy during World War II and worked in communications aboard the USS O'Flaherty in the South Pacific. He is a lifelong Naperville resident. His late wife, Carol, served on the city council and his father, Benjamin, served as the city's mayor from 1923 to 1927.
Friend Wayne Fischer, a Vietnam vet who works with Naperville American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, was one of the parade organizers,
"We're coffee buddies, and I believe in honoring our World War II and other veterans," he said. "And he's got the sharpest mind you could ever imagine."
"It's an honor to do it, trust me," Fischer said.