WEST BROOKFIELD (CBS) — While the Memorial Day parade in West Brookfield was canceled, the community came together to recognize one veteran with a special tradition.

Everett Allen is 99 years old. The World War II veteran has attended every Memorial Day observance since 1946.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday, Allen dressed in his full uniform from 1945 and was honored by his community.

“I want to say thank you to everybody who got involved in this today because it’s a complete surprise to me,” he said. “I’m amazed because I didn’t expect anything like this. I had planned just a prayer and a salute to the colors.”

Instead, cars rolled by his driveway honking their horns and people in uniforms and plain clothes alike stopped to thank Allen for his service.

“I was a bomber and I got shot down and I saw some of my members take a direct hit and get killed,” Allen explained. He spent almost a year in captivity before the end of World War II.

Memorial Day carries a special meaning for Allen, but he said it should be important for all Americans.

“It’s just a day to recognize all those people who have passed on…you’ve got to have it. That’s why I said I wanted to do something here, just something simple, but to do what I felt should be done,” Allen said.

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