MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – A South Florida man who served on a destroyer during World War II received a very special gift from the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday for his 103rd birthday.
On Sunday, Henry Miller turned 103 at the Preserve, an independent and assisted living retirement community in Pompano Beach.
“I’ve lived a very nice life and thank God at 103 I am able to take care of myself,” said Miller.
On Monday he boarded a Coast Guard boat for ride around Biscayne Bay and Government Cut to see the cruise ships in port.
“I spent four years in the Navy during World War II. I was drafted in 1941 and I was discharged November 9th, 1945 from Japan. I was on two different ships; I was on a destroyer and a repair ship,” said Miller. “This is a great honor to be invited to take a ride on another Navy ship.”
Coast Guard crew members insisted it was their ‘honor’ to grant Miller’s birthday wish and gave him a special token of their appreciation.
“I’d like to present you with a coin from the crew of Coast Guard Station Miami Beach,” said Lt. Traci Fiammetta has he presented Miller with the decorative coin, “And thank you for your service.”
So to what does Miller attribute his long life?
“Live a nice, clean life. I would say there are two things that I did that helped me a lot. One was I made up my mind that when you meet someone never discuss politics with them. Number two, never discuss religion and you’ll never get in trouble.”
Miller was born on August 28, 1908 in New York, New York. He was the youngest of 3 children, he had 2 older sisters. He was a dress manufacturer for many years in NYC.
In 1941 he was drafted into the Navy and was a 2nd class signalman on the destroyer escort, the USS Wiseman and later worked on a repair ship as a 2nd class signalman. When he returned to the states he continued manufacturing ladies dresses. In 1954 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and remained in the dress business.
He finally retired in Florida. He has traveled more than half way around the world and even has a record with the cruise ships; he’s been on 75 cruises in 30-35 years.