As dozens of close friends sang, “Happy Birthday,” a single slice of chocolate cake was delivered to Ernie Moorey of Redding. Atop was one single candle, certainly a lot easier to blow out than 105.
Surrounded by a close group of friends, Moorey observed his 105th birthday on Monday. Amidst the celebration though, was remembrance. For him, Memorial Day is a time of solemn respect.
Moorey is a member of the Greatest Generation, a World War II veteran who repaired convoy ships running from Trinidad to Brazil.
“I was in charge of the mechanical work,” Moorey recalls. “Mainly the engine works and the likes of that.”
While not directly in combat, Moorey worked alongside many who were. His first-hand accounts of one of the biggest conflicts in human history have left many close friends captivated.
“Just to hear his stories the things we always see on TV and learned thru history. Ernie actually lived thru them.” said Jeff Moran of Bethel.
Moorey recalls a time when he was a diver, repairing ships magnetic mine detecting systems. He also worked outfitting destroyers and preparing other ships for battle.
“We had to put bigger guns on them and we had to put two more K-guns on them,” he said.
So, what’s the secret to living to 105 years old?
“I would say it probably depends on the woman you married,” said Moorey. His wife Josephine passed away in 2016.
With a wedding photo by his side, Ernie sat with friends today, friends he considers family.
“I’m not really related to any of them,” Moorey said, “but I’m related to all of them.”
While Moorey remembers those who lost their lives in World War II, he’s emotional, reflective and forward thinking.
“People should remember what happened and that goes for the world,” Moorey said, “because I think they’re crazy going to war all the time.”