Raleigh WWII vet and civil rights pioneer celebrates 100th birthday

RALEIGH. NC (WTVD) -- Most days, there's plenty of room inside Millie Veasey's tidy home in Raleigh. But in her living room Wednesday, reporters, photographers and friends of the World War II Army veteran occupied nearly every available space.

Veasey smiled as she gingerly made her way to a comfy chair in the corner, settled in, then declared, "I can't believe that I am a hundred today!"

She shared memories of her century of experience as a veteran and her life before the Army, as a young woman in Raleigh.

She told us her faith helped her reach the century milestone, after enlisting at a time when America had some growing to do.

During the waning days of World War II, while the home front began to deal with decades of discrimination against African Americans, she was a member of the only all black, all female battalion to serve overseas. She was stationed in England and France.

After her return stateside, she pursued higher education at St. Augustine's College.

"When I came back, I was given a scholarship to complete the Masters," she said.

She also became a civil rights leader, as the first female president of Raleigh's NAACP chapter.

The walls of her living room are a gallery of photographs and honors bestowed upon her during her years spent helping her community, and the nation. One shot shows her saluting President Barack Obama on the day they met in 2016 and he recognized her service.

Then, after all the reporters finished their questions and packed up their equipment, Veasey's friends from the Veterans Administration eased her out of the chair where she posed with her birthday cake for the cameras.

"You'll take me to go get ice cream," she said, still smiling.

The celebration of her centennial continues Saturday, with a birthday luncheon with invited guests at St. Augustine's.
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