100-Year-Old WWII Veteran Receives 800 Birthday Cards

by Matthew Memrick

One Texas World War II veteran hoped to get 100 cards for her 100th birthday, but instead, she was overwhelmed by 800 cards from across the country.

Claudia Cantu turned 100 last month and her daughter, Christine Magill, said the Corpus Christi resident received 787 instead, according to Fox News.

“We have opened every single one and read almost every single one,” Magill told Fox News. “We’re not finished yet.”

Daughter Asked For Cards For WWII Veteran

Magill said her mother’s poker group came up with the idea. They got in touch with a local TV station. Word spread to the Texas General Land Office, and soon, cards from as far away as Alaska and Canada showed up in the veteran’s mailbox.

A local school’s second-grade class took part in the fun, sending Cantu a few cards. Teachers from that school incorporated the woman and her war experience into their lesson plans.

Magill said she was thrilled at how her mother inspired the class.  

Magill recounted some of the girls saying they felt like they could do anything, and Cantu’s story served as a big encouragement.

WWII Veteran’s Experience A Family Affair

At 21, Cantu started in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942 because both her brothers were fighting in the war. While she served, the WAAC was renamed the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and became a recognized part of the Army Air Forces. 

Four years later, Cantu left the WAC and was married in 1947. The woman met her husband in high school, and he also served during the war. Together, they raised Magill and three other children.

Magill said her mom hasn’t slowed down over the years and took part in several parties. One included three of her four children along with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Another was a surprise lunch with her poker group while one more came with other relatives.

Additionally, Cantu was the guest of honor for a miniparade past her house. The Nueces County Sheriff’s Department led the parade right in front of Cantu’s home. And the group hoped to get 100 vehicles for the special occasion.

Also, Magill said an artist is working on her portrait.

Magill has said her mom has been “a little overwhelmed” at times, and modesty has kicked in a few times. Cantu has shied away from a lot of the attention, saying other veterans need some attention too.

But maybe the daughter knows best in this situation. She said she’s very proud of her mom and her achievements.

Magill said: ‘Look at the legacy that you have left with your children, which has grown into your grandchildren, which has now been passed on to your great-grandchildren. That legacy will just continue to live on.’”