HOUSTON, Texas (FOX 26) - For some military veterans, pictures tell the stories. For Rice Wells, they tell a whole bunch of them.
"What we got sent for, we had to do it and we did, so it was a big war," says Rice.
"He’s like other veterans of that era," says Larry Wells, Rice's son. "They really didn’t talk about the war. They just came back and got busy with their lives."
Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Rice enlisted in the U.S. Army. When he was honorably discharged in 1945, he was a staff sergeant. 73 years later, he feels more comfortable talking about what he endured, such as how one year into his service, his Jeep ran over a bomb, causing him to lose teeth and his hearing.
In 1944, Rice witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and he remembers what it was like when World War II ended.
"He said that when they got into Germany, the Germans were surrendering by the thousands, so they wouldn’t get caught by the Russians and so they beat them and Dad was told he would be in the invasion of Japan and everybody would go to California and collect there, but then the nuclear bomb was dropped, so he didn’t have to fight”, says Rice's son, Dale Wells.
“We were done and we were pretty lucky, pretty lucky, and I know lot of people that didn’t," says Rice. However, his friends and family gathered on Thursday evening for something greater than a history lesson. They gathered to celebrate his 103rd birthday at Brookdale Springs Shadows, his senior living care facility.