Veterans mark milestone birthdays as United States turns 244

By Joy Asuncion | Jul 02, 2020
Courtesy of: Jeanette Fernstrom Some of the celebrants who gathered for the parade and birthday party June 27 for Carmine Pecorelli of Belfast, 95, second from left, pictured here outside the Belfast VFW post.

As we approach the Fourth of July, locally we have been celebrating milestone birthdays of some of our Greatest Generation (World War II) veterans.

Glenn Hills marked his 101st birthday June 17. He is a World War II, Korea and Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army, Maine Air/Army National Guard, and retired as a master sergeant.

As a resident of Harbor Hill Nursing Care Center, Glenn was not able to have any visitors inside. However, his family was able to see him from his window and talk with him on the phone on his birthday.

Glenn’s brother Basil Hills, 99 years young, also resides at Harbor Hill and and also served in World War II in the U.S. Army. He is a Purple Heart recipient.

Edith Dondis turned 100 June 13. A Rockland resident, she served in World War II as a U.S. Navy WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Edith’s four brothers also served during World War II and all came home. On Edith’s birthday, she received over 200 birthday cards from 22 states, and some from active duty women serving overseas.

Carmine Pecorelli of Belfast celebrated his 95th birthday June 27. A veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, he served in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. Belfast VFW Post 3108 held a birthday celebration for Carmine at the post, along with a car and truck parade that started at the Belfast Area High School and ended at the VFW Post on Field Street.

Please help me connect with the men and women World War II veterans in your communities so I can personally thank them for their service to our country. You can reach me at 930-5640 or, or message me on Facebook at Joy Lewis Asuncion.

Celebrating America’s birthday

Americans celebrate the Fourth of July every year, with 2020 marking the 244th anniversary of the founding of the United States. It is an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, has been a federal holiday since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present day, July 4 has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. This year, because of COVID-19, there are no parades to celebrate America’s birthday. However, I hope everyone will take a few minutes to remember why this day is important and remember all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Please teach your children and grandchildren why we celebrate America’s birthday.

Joy Asuncion is a retired U.S. Navy veteran, an Honor Flight Maine director, a Maine Troop Greeter and the Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, D.C. You can reach her at 930-5640 or




Joy Asuncion, flanked by World War II veterans Glenn Hills, 101,  and Basil Hills, 99. (Courtesy of: Joy Asuncion)
Edith Dondis of Rockland, a World War II Navy WAVE, holds a letter from Admiral M. M. Gilday, chief of Naval Operations, congratulating her on her 100th birthday June 13 and thanking her for her service. (Courtesy of: Joy Asuncion)
This poster, created by Joy Asuncion, commemorates Edith Dondis's World War II service as  Navy WAVE. (Courtesy of: Joy Asuncion)
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