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American Legion organizes 100th birthday celebration

lucille griffith

Damon Howell / Photo

WWII veteran Lucile Griffith McMullen kindly accepted a little party Monday morning, complete with ice cream cake and a quilt made from the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.


By Jim Brescia and Suellen Reitz

American Legion Post 149


COVID-19 has forced us to alter our lives in so many ways. It is doubtful that things will ever be “normal” again. But some things are too important to allow them to yield to the pandemic. Celebrating someone’s 100th birthday is something that is worthy of a creative solution that allows us to celebrate without ignoring the restrictions imposed upon us to curtail the spread of the disease.

American Legion Post 149 here in Pickens County joined forces with the Daughters of the American Revolution Sequoyah Chapter to honor Alice Lucile Griffith McMullen (Miss Lucile to those who know and love her) on her 100th birthday. Lucile was sworn into the Army as a second lieutenant on January 31, 1945 and has been a member of Post 149 for 13 years.

Lucile was raised in Whitestone and graduated from Pickens High class of 1940. She received her RN nursing degree at Atlanta Piedmont Hospital. Lucile and three of her friends from the nursing program decided to join the Army.  

“Joining the military was just something everyone was doing. My father was in WWI and my brother had already joined the Air Force.”   She has a memory and wit that would put people decades younger than her to shame.

After the war, Lucile spent 20 years serving veterans in the Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. It was there she met a young medical corpsman who had seen combat duty during the war. She was married to Pierce McMullen for 29 years. When Pierce died from cancer, Lucile moved back to Jasper.

So, back to the original problem. How do we celebrate Lucile’s 100 years of life in a COVID world? First, one puts on a mask. Then one sets up a table outside of her apartment. Then you cover it with a quilt made by DAR members, cards, posters, a cake and of course, flags. Then you ask Lucile to come outside and play “Happy Birthday” over a loud speaker (sorry neighbors).   The final score:  Lucile, veterans and DAR 1; COVID 0.