Jack Holder’s 99th Birthday Surprise Parade

Jack Holder walks out to his 99th Birthday Surprise Parade with friend, Thomas Baldrick.

You don’t get to be 99 years old without experiencing a few surprises. Jack Holder’s 99th Birthday Surprise Parade on Sunday, December 13, 2020 was simply the latest. And while it was smaller and a long way from his first major surprises, it was still great. Hopefully it will also be far from his last.

79 years earlier, Pearl Harbor Survivor Jack Holder made it through the two waves of surprise Japanese attacks on December 7, 1941. Luckily, he truly “lived to fight another day.” Six months later, came a much better surprise for Jack. That is because this time his U.S. Navy PBY Flight Crew surprised the Japanese Fleet by spotting them on the move across the Pacific. This led to the tide turning, historic Battle of Midway.

One of the many times Jack Holder was recognized and honored by the U.S. Navy for his courage, actions, and service.

Now this may come as a surprise to you. But these events mentioned above are all connected.

You see, Jack Holder’s 99th Birthday Surprise Parade was such a big deal because so many people knew of his historic and heroic military service during World War II.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Jack Holder after his 99th Birthday Surprise Parade with Friend and Neighbor Nancy Dagg.

The commanding officers for organizing the event were Jack’s friends and neighbors, Nancy Dagg and Larry Duncan. They proposed, planned and promoted it around Jack’s neighborhood in Chandler, Arizona.

What began with a small army of neighbors in golf carts quickly expanded. A wonderful veteran’s advocate, Christine Martinez spread the word among Arizona online veteran groups. I reached out to the Chandler Police Department and Chandler Fire Department to ask them to participate. Pardon the pun, but they really came out in force. And of course, the Phoenix TV Stations knew Jack Holder’s 99th Birthday Surprise Parade had to be covered. Basically, it was the can’t miss Arizona event of the day.

Sincere thanks to many. To the Chandler Unified School District for helping me borrow Jack Holder’s epic “throne” to be King for a Day. To the Arizona Patriot Guard Riders for their time, passion, and efforts in respecting and honoring Veterans. To Jack’s retired U.S. Navy buddy, Dennis Gardner, and retired U.S. Air Force special friend, Darlene Tryon. Their presence on his birthday was welcomed and anticipated, if not expected. It helped Jack Holder’s 99th Birthday Surprise Parade be as genuine as the WWII American Hero hundreds of excited, kind-hearted people drove by to honor.