Independence Day is about cherishing the freedoms Americans enjoy, while honoring those who have worked hard to ensure they remain in place.

John Shott, a prisoner of war (POW) during World War II, knows what it's like to have his freedom taken away.

During a special party for his 101st birthday, which actually falls on July 4, the former POW shared his story of survival – and how his love of jelly donuts kept him going.

"On May 17, 1945, our plane crashed. Everybody was killed except me," said Shott, who served as a radioman and tail gunner on a Mitchell bomber.

While on a mission, his plane was shot out of the sky. He hid in the jungle for three days until he was captured while eating for the first time since the crash.

“I was in a cell, maybe 8 by 6 foot, tied with my hands behind my back," he said.

He was sent to the Philippines in captivity and later released to the United States before being discharged in Maryland.

Through the long days and nights, one of the things that gave him hope was his love for donuts and milk.

“I used to sit on a porch with a cold glass of milk. My mother always had powdered donuts for me, and I used to sit there and just without realizing how much I would eat, I would eat maybe three or four," Shott said.

Dunkin' Donuts heard of Shott’s story from Joe Messineo, a volunteer historian at the Veteran’s History Project. As he turns 101, a jelly donut birthday party ws a fitting way to celebrate.

“Probably the proudest moment to be in the Dunkin' business is to help celebrate a war hero," said Syracuse Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner Tom Santurri. "I think we should all be proud to be able to know him and help celebrate his birthday.”

Now, Shott could enjoy the donuts.

“This was one of my dreams," he said.