Duane Sherman, a World War II veteran in California, has lived a long life. But when it came to celebrating another birthday, he wasn’t looking forward to it very much, just wanted to skip through the big day.

“All my friends are gone,” Duane said.

The 96-year-old vet was feeling lonely, especially when he checked the mail, so his daughter hatched a plan. “He doesn’t get any mail that for him other than a bill,” said Sue Morse, Duane’s daughter.

She put out a call on Facebook asking people to send her dad a card to mark his 96th year. “I want him to feel special on his birthday,” Sue said.

But she had no idea how special strangers were going to make him feel. 50,000 cards poured in from all over the US and ten countries across the globe, all to wish Duane a happy birthday and to thank him for his service.

50,000 greeting cards poured in from all over the US and ten countries across the globe. (Screenshot/ CBSLA)

“I get emotional about it. A lot of my old buddies are gone,” Duane said.

During Duane’s birthday celebration, he was surprised and delighted to receive a visit from 10 US Navy chiefs who traveled from San Diego. They say he will always be part of their family.

Several US Navy chiefs drove from San Diego to California to celebrate with Duane. (Screenshot/ CBSLA)

“With the US Navy, we’re a brotherhood and sisterhood of chiefs and that spans his entire lifetime, so he still has friends, and we’re all here to celebrate his birthday with him, so hopefully it’s a happy one.” Senior Navy Chief, Jerry Green, said.

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