AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - An Augusta veteran celebrated a big birthday on an important historical day.
Thursday was the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping in Japan, signaling the end of WWII. Dante Antonacci also celebrated his 100th birthday Thursday at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home.
"It brings tears to my eyes," Antonacci said.
Dante Antonacci turns 100 years old Friday, but his birthday celebration kicked off a little early.
"It's beyond me," he said. "I don't deserve it."
As those closest to him gathered at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, Antonacci was filled with joy. He turned a century old by having cake and dinner with friends and family.
"The real wealth anybody has is family," Antonacci said.
With four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, Antonacci appreciates the meaning of family. While stationed in Tokyo in 1945, he recalled coming home to his loved ones.
"I was so home sick for Lida, and my two daughters," he said. "I decided, 'To hell with Tokyo. I'm going to go home."
When he was just 10 years old, Antonacci and his family packed their bags in Italy and moved to the states.
He's lived through the Great Depression and World War II. With these experiences under his belt, he believes America is the greatest place to live on Earth.
When asked what he would like for his birthday, Antonacci's response was much more than a present.
"Peace on Earth," he said. "And a good future for young kids in America."