SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It isn’t every day you see someone celebrate their 100th birthday, and for James Sakezles it was about a whole lot more.

Sakezles was drafted out of Clarkson College and served in the 336 Engineer Combat Battalion C Company Demolition from January 1943 until December 1945. He fought on D-Day, storming the beaches in Normandy, and his platoon also liberated concentration camps around Gerdelegen within Nazi Germany.

As proud as he is to celebrate that, his biggest accomplishment is what he has been able to achieve with his family, especially his wife.

“What I am most thankful for,” he said, “Is last April we celebrated our 75th anniversary.”

“People look and say, ’75 years how did you manage?’ I yell louder than her,” he said, laughing.

In 2014 Sakezles flew with Honor Flight Syracuse on mission #3 to visit the monuments in Washington, D.C., so Vice President Rob Schoeneck made sure he was there to help celebrate.

“For any of our alumni who hit 100 years old we are getting out in front of them and just saying happy birthday, thank you for your service, and we as a country, we as an honor flight organization, we haven’t forgotten about you and we never will,” Schoeneck said.

“The fact that he stormed the beaches at Normandy when so many other veterans lost their lives and he is still here to talk about it, it really changed the course of history,” Schoeneck added. “So we really want to get out and say thank you for your service we haven’t forgotten about you and happy birthday.”