Denver WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday with family

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DENVER -- John Sekulich was born 100 years ago Saturday on a ranch outside Canon City.

He said once he saw World War II was about to begin, he volunteered for the Army and was sent to Europe.

"I saw my dead, my share of dead soldiers. I saw my share of them," he said.

He was at the start of the bloodiest battle fought by Americans in the war.

"The Battle of the Bulge was the worst of all," Sekulich said. "Yeah, I was in it right from the beginning."

U.S. soldiers suffered 89,000 casualties, with as many as 19,000 killed in action.

"It was rough at times it was rough but ... but we made it alright ... thank goodness," he said.

As the battle dragged on for weeks, Sekulich recalls Germans started running out of supplies.

"There were hundreds of Germans walking toward us from the woods with their hands up," he said. "They said 'we're hungry.'"

Born in 1916, Sekulich celebrated his 100th birthday with dozens of family members who came from across the country to Denver.

"It's great. I appreciate it really but it's a lot of trouble for other people," he said.

Family members said Sekulich's active lifestyle is what's kept him young.

"Doesn't forget a thing and he's just a great man," said his niece Candy Kossman.

"Never smoked a cigarette in my life," Sekulich said. "And I never indulged in drinking."

But not a day goes by he doesn't think of when he was an Army communications tech sergeant in Europe, especially with the number of World War II veterans dwindling.

But he said he never thought of himself as the "Greatest Generation."

"I don't know what to think of it with the ... like you said ... the 'Greatest Generation.' I don't know what to think about that," he said.