While the Veterans Day is already tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 11, let’s celebrate the 100th birthday of Lt. Col. Martin B. Roller—an Army veteran who served in both World War II and the Korean War.
Sitting on his back porch with a red white and blue blanket draped over him, several people came up to shake his hand and wish him a happy birthday.
Roller was born on Nov. 9, 1919, in Cedar Gap, Missouri. He joined the Army on Oct. 2, 1941, and served the country diligently in two wars before honorably retiring from the military on his birthday in 1979.
“I’m happy to have come through both of them, and I hope I never have to see another one in my lifetime or any time,” Roller said, adding that he hopes others feel called to serve their country if the time comes, 11ALIVE reported.
Roller’s wife, Mary Jean Rich-Roller, who has been married to him for 15 years, said even decades after retiring, Roller is still “American-ized,” loyal to the Army and the United States.
“He’s crazy about it,” Rich-Roller said. “That’s how he lives.”
On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 9, dozens of families and friends came to their home in Sharon, South Carolina, to thank Roller for his service and to celebrate his special birthday.
“Today is a glorious day for celebrating 100 years of life for my husband, which I love dearly,” Rich-Roller said. “We had to do something to celebrate with him. My girls just went overboard and love to do everything for him. We’re just enjoying the day and celebrating with him for 100 years of good living.”
“I’ve lived a good life,” Roller said. “I can’t kick on anything that’s happened to me so far. I have a wonderful family, and here I am, enjoying life and hoping to get a little bit more. I’m planning on being around for a few more years, and I hope that I make it and I’m going to try real hard. If I don’t make it, I’ve lived a good life.”
Growing up in a family of eight children, Roller now, at 100, has one brother left, who still calls him his “baby brother.”
His brother wasn’t able to make the flight from California to the party, but they still keep up.
“I’m happy, the happiest I’ve ever been in my life right now,” Roller said. “I miss all of them. I miss my mother an awful lot … I’m just happy to be alive today and happy to know that I’ve got, I hope, a few more years.”