World War II veteran ‘Mama’ Bridges celebrates turning 101

Bridges’ nursing career spanned over three decades

Credit: WSBTV Videos

World War II veterans fly from Atlanta to Normandy for 78th anniversary of D-Day

Clara “Moma” Bridges turned 101 on March 24. A graduate from Booker T. Washington High School’s class of 1939, World War II veteran and retired nurse, Bridges’ big birthday is being celebrated across the community.

Her peers call her a caring, kind and quick-witted centenarian, according to Atlanta Housing.

“She has been that way my entire life,” Bridges’ niece, Carmelitia Harris-Pierce, told Atlanta Housing. “I think because she grew up in a spiritual home, that’s just who she is.”

At the age of 7, Bridges knew she wanted to become a nurse after hearing a woman at her church talk about her work travels. Once she graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, Bridges completed the nursing program at Clark College and Grady Hospital.

After completing the program, at 24 years old, Bridges enlisted in the U.S. Army as World War II was winding down. She served two honorable wartime years across four military installations. From caring for German POWs in Fort McCoy in Wisconsin to operating out of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, she did it all.

Bridges’ nursing career spanned over three decades and evolved from a focus on orthopedics to working with newborns in pediatrics.

“She would always care for all (of the) babies as a nurse,” Harris-Pierce, told Atlanta Housing. “All us of (were) perfectly healthy children. Even those who had life-threatening illnesses, like polio or asthma, she nursed us all to perfect health.”

A staple of the community, Bridges also served as a volunteer nurse at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.