WWII veteran celebrates 72nd wedding anniversary after COVID-19 battle

Published: Dec. 13, 2020 at 11:41 PM CST
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CORONA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - A 94-year-old Navy veteran who served in World War II beat the deadly coronavirus after 11 days in the intensive care unit and returned home to his wife for their anniversary.

Cuddled up together on the couch, Norman and Shirley McArthur feel blessed just to be together at home. Norman spent 11 days in the ICU after an aggressive care of coronavirus knocked the WWII veteran off his feet.

“For three days, I didn’t quite know where I was,” Norman McArthur said.

Shirley and Norman McArthur celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary after Norman, a World War...
Shirley and Norman McArthur celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary after Norman, a World War II veteran, spent 11 days in the intensive care unit battling COVID-19.(Source: Family photos, KCAL/KCBS via CNN)

“I said to him, ‘Mac, how do you feel?’ And he said, ‘Terrible,’” Shirley McArthur said.

The 94-year-old developed pneumonia and kidney failure, and his prognosis was quickly deteriorating.

“I think I just felt broken, just broken - 72 years, half of me is going,” Shirley McArthur said.

But Norman McArthur was determined to make it home to his wife, and he did so just in time for their 72nd wedding anniversary. His family says he refused to go on a ventilator and made the miraculous recovery with medicine, oxygen and an abundance of prayer.

“I had to rely on the faith I say I have, and it worked. It worked,” Shirley McArthur said.

Even though the odds were against him, the veteran says he had to give it a fighting chance.

“If you think you can do it, try it,” he said.

The McArthurs daughter, Janine Bills, is taking care of her father as he continues his recovery at home.

“A couple days later, he’s up with a walker. I mean, I have to keep him down. He’s a thoroughbred that wants to get out the gate,” she said.

Bills says the family has been together since March, and they thought the bubble they had created was safe. But she and her husband were exposed to the virus during an outing in San Diego and unknowingly brought it home.

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