WWII nurse celebrates 100th birthday
Clad in a red dress and a tiara, 100-year-old WWII veteran Charlotte Schwid had a big grin on her face as people wished her happy birthday Wednesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9785 in Eagle River.
When asked about all the attention, Schwid covered her face and replied, "Crazy."
Schwid was born on May 22, 1919. She graduated from nursing school, enlisted in the Army and less than a year later, according to her daughter, found herself in Tidworth, England. She was there on June 6, 1944: D-Day.
Schwid recalls all the planes. Her daughter, Sharon White, says her mother later helped injured troops.
"You meet more of these older veterans and realize what a gift they are," said White.
White says when her mother later returned stateside she worked as the first stadium nurse at the new Milwaukee County Stadium in Wisconsin. She says her mother remembers seeing baseball great Hank Aaron play for the Milwaukee Braves baseball team.
Schwid continues to support other Alaska veterans, even at the age of 100. She makes it a point to attend the Last Frontier Honor Flight homecoming events that happen twice a year in Anchorage. On the trips, veterans tour war memorials and monuments as part of a trip to Washington, D.C. They then get a hero's welcome when they return home to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Schwid hasn't missed a homecoming since she took an honor flight in 2014. "I just go. I'm glad to go," said Schwid.
White says her mother will continue to attend Last Frontier Honor Flight homecomings as long as she can.
The crowd gathered at the VFW sang the happy birthday song while the birthday girl enjoyed some cake. She also received hundreds of cards and letters. Family friend and Air Force veteran Pheng Scott reached out to Military.com about Charlotte's birthday. The website ran a story and that's when the cards started pouring in.
"So everyday I would check the mailbox and I was like, wow! So I would get bins of cards. They come from Belgium. They came from England. There's some deployed folks that sent some cards in. Elementary schools. We have a card from every state," said Scott.
Schwid says she's lived so long in part because she's active and has been "living right."
Happy birthday, Charlotte!
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