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William Lashua’s Birthday is a flash mob campaign organized by 4chan’s Anonymous contingent to celebrate the 90th birthday of William Lashua, a World War II veteran who resides in Ashburnham, MA. Also see: Kate’s Birthday.
On September 1st, 2010, an Anonymous member, presumably from the same town, took a picture of an event flyer announcing the 90th birthday of William Lashua and posted it on 4chan’s /b/ board. The birthday celebration is scheduled to be held at the Ashburnham American Legion from 1 pm to 4 pm on September 4th, 2010.
Calling for other Anons to make Mr. Lashua the happiest man on his birthday, /b/ thread instantly caught on with other users and spread across other news aggregate hubsites and social networks like Gawker, Buzzfeed, Reddit and
Facebook Page. On the same day, details of Mr. Lashua’s birthday event was soon revealed:
William J Lashua
Ashburnham American Legion
132 Williams RD
Ashburnham, MA 01430
William’s Grandson Responds
On September 2nd, Reddit user “HOLYSHITthrowaway” posted a thread titled I am William Lashua’s Grandson. Please Read and the authenticity of his claim was verified by another staff member. In the post, he thanked everyone’s support and generosity, but asked others to refrain from actually attending the event.
Kind folks of reddit, My family and I appreciate the outpouring of love and generosity. There has been a large misunderstanding. The poster which I’m told was found at the Gardner Stop & Shop was more a local notice for people that know him. It was in no way to indicate that he is alone. He has 7 children, many grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. In his younger years he was a foster parent to dozens of foster children. He is well liked in the community, and will be fully supported on his 90th birthday. I ask that if you don’t know him, to not attend the party, as it is for his friends and family. The venue for the party is a very small hall, and will be full to capacity with people he knows and loves.
By all means, send cards and well wishes, but please refrain from sending gifts/strippers/cakes/candies/etc. and instead please make a donation in his name to a local vetrans charity.
Thank you again for all the love and well wishes, we certainly never expected this. You are awesome reddit, now please help me spread the word to other outlets and make sure this is a smaller, enjoyable party for him.
Internet Love Machine
The event was used to prove that Anonymous does indeed try to make some people feel good, and showed some who had characterized them as the “Internet Hate Machine” that the group actually has a heart. The following slideshow of images taken at Mr. Lashua’s birthday party was posted by a Youtube user called “AnonymousHasASoul” and has gained more than 200,000 views.
On May 31st, 2013, a poster claiming to be William Lashua’s grandson/daughter posted a thread  to the 4chan board /q/ reporting his passing a week prior on May 23rd. The claim was verified with an Obituaries page on a local newspaper website, The Gardner News .
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