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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default 108-year-old, one of last surviving WWI vets, dies

    TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- Harry Richard Landis, who enlisted in the Army in 1918 and was one of only two known surviving U.S. veterans of World War I, has died. He was 108.


    Harry Richard Landis, one of only two surviving vets of WWI, died Monday at 108.

    Landis, who lived at a Sun City Center nursing home, died Monday, according to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The remaining U.S. veteran is Frank Buckles, 107, of Charles Town, West Virginia, according the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, John Babcock of Spokane, Washington, 107, served in the Canadian army and is the last known Canadian veteran of the war.

    Another World War I vet, Ohioan J. Russell Coffey, died in December at 109. The last known German World War I veteran, Erich Kaestner, died New Year's Day at 107.

    Landis trained as a U.S. Army recruit for 60 days at the end of the war and never went overseas. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs counts him among the 4.7 million men and woman who served during the Great War.

    The last time a known U.S. veteran of a war died was September 10, 1992, when Spanish-American War veteran Nathan E. Cook passed away at age 106.

    In an interview with The Associated Press in April in his Sun City Center apartment, Landis recalled that his time in the Student Army Training Corps involved a lot of marching.

    "I don't remember too much about it," said Landis, who enlisted while in college in Fayette, Missouri, at age 18. "We went to school in the afternoon and drilled in the morning."

    They often drilled in their street clothes.

    "We got our uniforms a bit at a time. Got the whole uniform just before the war ended," Landis said. "Fortunately, we got our great coats first. It was very cold out there.

    He told reporters in earlier interviews that he spent a lot of time cleaning up a makeshift sick ward and caring for recruits sickened by an influenza pandemic.

    When asked whether he had wanted to get into the fight, Landis said, "No."

    When the war ended on November 11, 1918, Landis recalled a final march with his unit.

    "We went down through the girls college, marching down the street. We got down to the courthouse square and there was a wall around this courthouse. We got to the wall and (the drill instructor) didn't know what to do and we were hup, two, three, four, hup, two, three, four," Landis said, laughing at the memory. "Finally, we jumped up on the wall and kept going until we got to the courthouse -- hup, two, three, four -- and he said dismissed."

    He said he and some fellow recruits piled into a car to go to the next town.

    "What we did there, why we were there, I couldn't tell you," Landis said.

    He signed up to fight the Germans again in 1941, but at age 42 was rejected as too old.

    "I registered, but that's all there was to it," Landis said.

    Landis was born in 1899 in Marion County, Missouri. He joined the Student Army Training Corps in 1918 but got out when the war ended.

    He was a manager at S.S. Kresge Co., which later became Kmart, in Niagara Falls, New York, and Dayton, Ohio. His fondest memory was taking golf vacations with three friends and their families, a tradition that ended more than five decades ago with the death of his best friend.

    "We really looked forward to getting our old foursome together and going somewhere for a couple of weeks," Landis said. "Sadly, my favorite best friend lived until he was only 60 years old. We were like brothers. We could talk about business, serious things and we could act like a couple of kids."

    Landis retired to Florida's warmer climate in 1988 and lived in an assisted living center with his wife of 30 years, Eleanor.

    His first wife, Eunice, died after 46 years of marriage. Landis had no children. He said he enjoyed a good game of golf until his health kept him off the course.

    Landis laughed when asked the secret to his longevity.

    "Just keep swinging," he said.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Wow..... I can' imagine living to be 108. Imagine all the technological change he saw.....

    RIP.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    My dads father was born in same year as this guy was. Pretty amazing what has happened since. Can you imagine 100 years from now? And at 42 he wanted to go to fight for his country too but was rejected...RIP

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    The last known German World War I veteran, Erich Kaestner, died New Year's Day at 107.
    And we win again. Fuckers.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  5. #5
    Sinner's Swing! Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    I certainly hope this fellow had a little more enjoyable life than the article mentions.
    Manager of a K-Mart, no kids, and his best friend died fifty years ago. All he seems to have done since then is play a little golf by himself.
    I'm sure he had more fun than that. I hope he did, anyway.







    Don't read this.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    And we win again. Fuckers.
    That's really respectful.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullwinkle View Post
    I certainly hope this fellow had a little more enjoyable life than the article mentions.
    Manager of a K-Mart, no kids, and his best friend died fifty years ago.
    Living a long time can be a bitch.

    My great-grandmother died last month. I'm 32. I don't know many people my age who've had a living great-grandparent. My dad, who is 59, called his new boss on a Sunday evening to explain that he wouldn't be in to work that week because his grandmother died. 59, and having a grandmother that died? That had to sound a bit bizarre to his boss!

    She was a month shy of 105. All of her friends and acquaintances were from a younger generation. She didn't have any peers left. Her husband died in 1956. The town where she lived has crumbled, quite literally. All that is left of the school there is brick walls. Half of the houses are abandoned, and the other half probably will be soon. She out-lived everything that was once familiar to her.

    How scary is that?

  8. #8
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
    Living a long time can be a bitch.

    My great-grandmother died last month. I'm 32. I don't know many people my age who've had a living great-grandparent. My dad, who is 59, called his new boss on a Sunday evening to explain that he wouldn't be in to work that week because his grandmother died. 59, and having a grandmother that died? That had to sound a bit bizarre to his boss!

    She was a month shy of 105. All of her friends and acquaintances were from a younger generation. She didn't have any peers left. Her husband died in 1956. The town where she lived has crumbled, quite literally. All that is left of the school there is brick walls. Half of the houses are abandoned, and the other half probably will be soon. She out-lived everything that was once familiar to her.

    How scary is that?
    Wow, and I complain things have changed since I was a kid in the 1980s. 104 - thats amazing. Your lucky to have had a great grandmother that long.

    My grandmother is 95 now and I really dont know how she carries on....it would break my heart to see the world as it is today if I had lived her life. She saw the soldiers return from WW1, lived in London during the Blitz and has only now started to slow down. All her friends are dead and the only time I see her perk up is when she is with her great granddaughter who is 6 months old.

    I suppose with the deaths of these last veterans of World War One the awful pain felt because of this war will finally be gone. I know in the UK we have maybe 2 or so left now, one of them is called Harry Patch and he is a legend. This guy is sharp as a razor and seeing him talk about his pals that were killed when an enemy artillery shell wiped them out is emotive stuff....he speaks as if it happened only yesterday, the pain is that strong all these years later.

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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoHalen View Post
    That's really respectful.
    hence the " " in the title
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  10. #10
    Eruption Goldustgrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
    Living a long time can be a bitch.

    My great-grandmother died last month. I'm 32. I don't know many people my age who've had a living great-grandparent. My dad, who is 59, called his new boss on a Sunday evening to explain that he wouldn't be in to work that week because his grandmother died. 59, and having a grandmother that died? That had to sound a bit bizarre to his boss!

    She was a month shy of 105. All of her friends and acquaintances were from a younger generation. She didn't have any peers left. Her husband died in 1956. The town where she lived has crumbled, quite literally. All that is left of the school there is brick walls. Half of the houses are abandoned, and the other half probably will be soon. She out-lived everything that was once familiar to her.

    How scary is that?

    One of my aunts (she was my grandmothers aunt, which made her my great-great aunt???) anyway, she passed away at 109!!!! She outlived all her children, and her son-in-law was taking care of her, but he got too old - she lived out her last days in a nursing home.
    I definately don't want to live that long.

 

 

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