Community throws surprise parade for 104-year-old veteran to celebrate her birthday despite coronavirus restrictions

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SAN DIEGO — Sexism didn’t stop Ruth Gallivan from joining the marines in the 1940s, and the coronavirus isn’t stopping her from celebrating her 104th birthday, KUSI reports.

She’s the oldest female marine in California and was the guest of honor during festivities this past week in San Diego.

Ruth served in the Marines and according to the World War II Museum, she is believed to be the oldest living female Marine west of the Mississippi.

“I feel so lucky to have her as my grandma,” said Haley Gallivan, her granddaughter.

“We received an email last week that Ruth Gallivan was turning 104…and she was so sad that her birthday parties, yes with an S, had to be canceled for today,” said Holly Shaffner with Honor Flight San Diego. “We were asked if we can help get the word out about sending cards and we were like, ‘we can do better than that.’ We organizedd this drive-by birthday party for her. It was a total surprise until the moment she came out the door. And we’re just so excited that we could do this for this very deserving female Marine that led the charge for all the rest of our military women.”

“It’s amazing how many people came out to support her in the parade…She had absolutely no idea,” Haley said.

“This is amazing, and I thank you so much. Made my day,” Ruth said.

Ruth was assigned to a Marine Corps air station in Miramar in 1946.

It didn’t even have barracks for women at that time, so she was tasked with establishing them.

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