The 100-year-old man is moved to tears of joy after the family throws him a surprising birthday party
The family and friends of a beloved 100-year-old grandfather made sure to have the party of his life to celebrate his centennial – despite the fact that the corona virus pandemic ended their original plans.
Peter Zagara – known to his loved ones as Pop – from Toms River, New Jersey, turned 100 on April 13, but the day before his three-digit birthday, his family and friends threw him an unforgettable social aloof parade party that saw dozens of his neighbors drive past his house to submit their wishes.
The surprising sidewalk party brought Peter to tears of joy, according to his grandson PJ Franovic, 35, who revealed that the man of the hour was stunned by the sweet parade.
Man of the Hour: Peter ‘Pop’ Zagara of Toms River, New Jersey, got the surprise of a lifetime when his friends and family staged a parade for him to celebrate his 100th birthday
Stunned: The 100-year-old WWII veteran would have had a party in his honor, but it had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic
Persevere: Instead of a party, Peter’s family and friends organized a parade, with dozens of his loved ones driving past his house with balloons and banners
“He was definitely crying, overwhelmed,” PJ told Good Morning America. “He said,” I’ve never seen anything like it. ”
A fun video of the surprise, which was filmed and shared by PJ, shows Peter emerging from his New Jersey home and walking up the driveway – while someone blows his favorite song, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me, out of a big amp.
Peter asks his grandson what’s going on, to which PJ replies, ‘Well, it’s your birthday Pop, and you’re turning 100! And we have to make sure you have a party with the right number of people in front of it, so people are driving down. ‘
When asked how he thinks he’s turning 100, Peter replies, “I can’t believe it.”
And then Peter sees the line of cars driving up his street and is shocked with his mouth open, bringing his hand to his face as cars from the local police and fire brigade pass by – followed by numerous other vehicles.
Peter begins to smile and wave at the cars, many of which have signs wishing the man of the hour a happy birthday, while his grandson yells, “This is for you, Dad!”
“If you turn 100, even the coronavirus shouldn’t stop the party,” PJ wrote as he shared the video on Instagram.
Emotional: The sweet party brought Peter to tears of joy, his grandson PJ Franovic said
Toot Toot! The local fire and police took part in the parade after Peter’s family called to ask if they would like to join and honor him
Party! Several fire trucks and police cars drove past Peter’s house with their sirens
“We all love this guy too much to let a little Global Pandemic get in the way. Congratulations Poppa! What an incredible life you have had so far and hopefully for many more years to come.
“Thank you to all the friends and family who came out. Thank you to the local police and fire department for an unforgettable experience. See you all at 101! Buon compleanno nonno !! ‘
Peter’s Birthday Parade continues with a line of fire trucks and cars driving down the street sounding their sirens, and they are followed closely by a taco truck with ‘100’ written on it.
Indeed, the only bittersweet element of Peter’s special day was that he couldn’t hug his neighbors to thank him, while PJ revealed he was desperate to embrace his grandfather, but knew he had to give the 100-year-old’s health and safety up front.
“He tried to get closer and cuddle, but I couldn’t,” he told GMA.
Peter, his grandson revealed, led an incredible life, with PJ sharing that the 100-year-old is a World War II veteran who fought for Italy and then spent five years as a prisoner of war in England.
After returning home, Peter married his late wife Grace, and the couple had two children together. After her death, Peter remarried a woman named Luda, who praised PJ for taking such good care of his grandfather.
Legend: “We all love this man too much to get in the way of a small Global Pandemic. Congratulations Poppa! PJ wrote on Instagram while sharing a video of the celebration
Special: Peter’s grandson PJ, 35, told Good Morning America that his grandfather felt like a ‘rockstar’ after the surprise party
Teamwork: PJ helped organize the event with his sister Stefanie (photo right)
“I firmly believe he wouldn’t have made it to 100 if it wasn’t for her and the band they have,” he revealed.
PJ, who hosted the parade with his sister Stefanie and wife Theresa Bufano, who is expecting the couple’s first child, added that his grandfather felt like a “ rockstar ” after the special celebration.
“He feels it’s his world and we all live in it and that’s what I want it to be,” said the proud grandson.
PJ’s video sparked a lot of reactions from Instagram users, many of whom shared warm wishes for Pop.
‘I simply [love] this, ‘wrote one person. ‘This is beautiful. This was posted by our local Toronto news channel [and] I had to see the entire video. HBD for your grandpa! ‘
Another agreed: ‘Happy Birthday sweet Pop !!!! Here are many more happy years! ‘
“Happy late birthday Poppa, it just melted my heart,” added one user.