Rotterdam World War II veteran gets surprise 95th birthday parade amid COVID-19 separation – ‘Wonderful’

Fred Ernest Muscanell waves and salutes passing parade participants Wednesday
Fred Ernest Muscanell waves and salutes passing parade participants Wednesday

Categories: News, Schenectady County

ROTTERDAM – A Rotterdam veteran got a surprise 95th birthday party Wednesday amid the COVID-19 separation – a parade to honor him and his service.

Fred Ernest Muscanell stood outside his home, a mask covering his face and with gloves, all as a parade of police cars, fire trucks, motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard and cars passed by honking their horns and waving.

Muscanell stood in appreciation of it all, waving back and saluting officers and others.

“Yes, oh yes, big surprise,” Muscanell told gathered reporters afterward. “I didn’t know all these guys were going to show up. Oh my god, they must have took them all from Altamont Avenue and told them to come this way!”

“Even policemen, too. Oh my god, I can’t believe it,” Muscanell added. “How did they get so many people together all to wish somebody a happy birthday?”

That somebody was a World War II veteran who participated in D-Day and landed on Utah Beach in Normandy.

Rotterdam Police led the parade. State police, Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office and even the Schenectady Police Department participated among the law enforcement officers there.


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Schenectady Police posted about the parade and honoring Muscanell later to Facebook.

Images: Rotterdam veteran gets 95th birthday surprise parade amid COVID-19 separation, April 29, 2020

“Today, we had the honor and privilege to join other local law enforcement agencies in paying tribute to Fred Muscanell,” the Schenectady department wrote on Facebook. “Fred is a World War II Veteran, who was part of the D Day invasion of Normandy, landing on Utah Beach. Fred turned 95 years young today and we were thrilled to participate in this amazing Parade. Happy Birthday Fred and THANK YOU for your service sir!”

Muscanell closed out his comments to reporters with thankfulness.

“Wonderful,” he said. “I appreciate it very much.”

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