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WWII veteran celebrating his 100th birthday: 'Have a positive attitude and enjoy life'

Posted at 12:15 AM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 00:17:49-05

FLORENCE, Ky. -- Robert Smith said it wasn’t dieting habits or an exercise routine that got him to his 100th birthday. 

The World War II veteran said he has one simple bit of advice for a long, happy life: Have a positive attitude, get along with people and enjoy life. 

“That’s what I’ve done,” Smith said. “No big secret … just was blessed with a long life.” 

Smith has accomplished a lot in his 100 years. In addition to serving in Germany, he had a son and a daughter, and he was a foster father to 21 children. Through all of the changes of Smith’s life, the power of song has always been a constant. 

Smith started singing when he started basic training in Texas. 

"We'd sing out there, sing different songs, always working to make the day go faster,” Smith. 

He sang when he returned home and joined The Harmonizers when he was 65 years old. He even sang from time to time at his job at JC Penney, where he worked until he was 88. 

“It’s really overwhelming,” Smith said. “I think about it more when I’m in bed some nights ... can’t sleep from 2 to 6 in the morning. I’ll think about all the different people I met. All the friends I had. What a great life I had.”

The City of Florence declared Feb. 11 Robert William Smith Day to honor his legacy.