Provo World War II Veteran Honored On 100th Birthday

Apr 16, 2021, 11:00 AM

PROVO, Utah – Dozens of cars paraded past a World War II veteran’s home Thursday evening to wish him a happy 100th birthday.

Ken Potts was also honored earlier in the day by the Utah National Guard with a flight on a Black Hawk helicopter.

“It tells you how much people love the country and he’s just become a symbol of that generation, that great generation,” said son Wayne Potts.

The 100-year-old did not interview with reporters but smiled and waved as cars, led by law enforcement vehicles, honked and waved and held up birthday wishes on signs.

Ken Potts is one of two living survivors who were on board the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was credited with rescuing dozens of sailors from the water as the ship sank and transporting them to Ford Island.

“The sailors that were below had no time to get out,” Wayne Potts said. “He was lucky that way.”

To this day, Ken Potts’ family said he receives gifts from strangers and requests for autographs due to his military service.

The veteran was escorted by guardsmen Thursday afternoon to Provo’s airport to fly in a Black Hawk helicopter.

“The service people treat him so well,” Wayne Potts said. “They care about their old warriors. That’s a nice thing.”

Potts said his father initially pushed back against having a big celebration.

“He’s a stubborn guy,” he said. “He says, ‘I told Matt to cancel everything!’”

The family expressed appreciation for the ongoing community support.

“I think he’s really glad that he did it now,” Potts said. “He’s a man of few words, so you don’t get a lot of emotion out of him, but I know he appreciates it.”

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Provo World War II Veteran Honored On 100th Birthday