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Museum surprises WWII vets with party

Monica Kinnaman.jpg
Posted at 10:22 PM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-13 00:22:12-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The National Museum of World War II Aviation held a special celebration Saturday honoring the lives and service of seven WWII veterans.

The surprise party celebrated the birthdays of seven vets including Monica "Nikki" Kinnaman who turned 104 on Friday, and Victor Santiago who is turning 97.

Kinnaman is a veteran of the British Army who served as an anti-aircraft gunner and rage finder fighting the Nazis during the Battle of Britain.

She met her American Husband who fought on Normandy Beach. The couple moved to the US in the 1950's.

Santiago was drafted by the Army during World War II but didn't see combat until the Korean War. He was a member of the Army's 65th Infantry Regiment which was founded in Puerto Rico shortly after the island nation became a US Territory. The Infantry was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014.

Mark Schaefer, an event volunteer, said he was proud of how many people from Colorado Springs came to show their support for the vets.

"Most of these people probably don't even know these men or women. for them to come here and say you know what I'm going to honor you, I want to hear your story," Schaefer said. "Wow."

The US Veterans Administration reports that an average of 234 World War II veterans die each day.

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