PERRY -- A birthday party in Houston County on Sunday celebrated a lot of history.
More than 200 people showed up to recognize the 94th birthday of Keath Morgan, an Army veteran of World War II and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge.
But at Morgan's suggestion, the party also honored 13 other veterans of World War II. It was held at Morgan's residence in the Houston Lake Country Club neighborhood.
An estimated 280 riders with Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle organization, paid tribute to the veterans with a parade by the house.
Many elected officials attended, including mayors, city council members and others. Gov. Nathan Deal sent a letter of congratulations to Morgan.
He was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division and operated a .30 caliber machine gun.
"It was ice cold," he said of the Battle of the Bulge. "Sometimes you would be out there and your machine gun would freeze cold. You couldn't shoot it."
He didn't give himself too much of a chance of making it out alive, much less living to be 94. "You didn't much care whether they shot you or not," he said. "You weren't going to come out of it."
The other World War II veterans at the party included three prisoners of war. Those were John Dominey, Crawford Hicks and William Freeman.
The others were Dan Callahan, James Kyle, Claude Lewis, Grover Sassaman, Archie Brown Sealy, Calvin Smith, Carole Underwood, A.C. Wade, Penrose Wolfe and James Young.
Kyle is a Purple Heart recipient and was brought to the party on a gurney by ambulance.
The party came about when Morgan was having lunch with his daughter Rebecca Mann at a Waffle House. Some members of Rolling Thunder were there and saw Morgan's World War II veteran hat. They came over to thank him for his service and learned he had a birthday coming up.
They offered to help throw a party for him, and Morgan said if they were going to do that, they should make it a party for other World War II vets as well.
Rolling Thunder focuses on issues related to troops who were prisoners of war or are listed as missing in action.
Morgan's son, Keath Morgan Jr., choked up when he was asked about his dad.
"He's the best fellow I ever met," he said. "Any time anybody needed anything, day or night, he would be out to help the family."
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.