Monday, May 9, 2016

A Farewell To Superman


Frank Levingston 
November 13, 1905 - 
May 3, 2006

If you are unfamiliar with Frank Levingston, I promise that you shall receive no grief from me.  I was wholly ignorant of this nation's oldest living World War II veteran until I read a news report last Thursday regarding his death on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.  He was one hundred and ten years old.  

Frank Levingston was one of seven children and both of his parents died when he was still just a young man.  At age thirty-seven, he enlisted in the United States Army in October, 1942, less than one year after the Empire of Japan announced its declaration of war on the United States by annihilating our Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  He served as a Private and was part of the Allied Invasion of Italy, which lasted from September, 1943 until January, 1944.  When his service to this nation was completed in 1945, he received an honorable discharge.  He returned home to Louisiana, joined a union and worked as a specialist in cement finishing.  

In December, 2015 - shortly after his 110th birthday, he flew to Washington, D.C. where he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial on Pearl Harbor Day and a tour of the White House.  President Barack Obama is the nineteenth - and final - President who has called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home during Frank Levingston's lifetime.  If you choose to draw an inference from the fact that his birthday falls less than one week after we shall elect a new President in November, I shall not stop you.   

Frank Levingston never married.  He never fathered any children but he was vigilant in the manner in which he cared for the children of his sisters and brothers.  If you choose to draw an inference from the fact that a never-married man with no children lived a life that spanned slightly more than eleven decades, once again, I shall not stop you. 

When he celebrated his 110th birthday in November, 2015, he was asked what advice he would give to younger generations.  His answer?  "Be honest.  That's about all I can tell you."  

Pretty damn good advice, I would say.  But then again, what else would one expect from a Supercentenarian?  

-AK 

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