WWII fighter pilot from NC turns 100, celebrates on the golf course

MIAMI (WTVD) -- A local World War II pilot celebrated a big milestone birthday Monday, turning 100 years old.

ABC11 caught up with him to find out how he celebrated the big day.

Back in November, Ed Cottrell celebrated the big day early by skydiving with the All Veteran Group out of Raeford. Cottrell flew 65 missions as a World War II pilot, and he flew out of North Carolina on Saturday night to escape the winter storm.

"I'm in Miami Beach, 70 degree temperature, nice sun," Cottrell told ABC11 on Monday. "I've had all my friends call me on the phone. My daughters have been in touch with me, and I feel like a celebrity, but I'm not. I'm just a plain old small country boy that was lucky to live to be 100."

Cottrell spent his birthday golfing with his buddies in Florida.

Asked for his secrets to a long life, he replied: "I tell people the main thing is to drink lots of water and marry a good woman. But the real secret is to keep active, keep busy. Keep your mind going and be nice to people. Respect whoever you're with."

So what's to look forward to next? Cottrell said he has two big wishes.

"One, I just wish that each day I continue to have good health," he said. "But my biggest wish right now is that we come together as a country ... like it used to be."
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