WWII Veteran

DC WWII Veteran Celebrates 105th Birthday

“We’ve had a wonderful life, and growing up in that wonderful life was a whole lot of good things and a few bad things, but we didn’t let it put us down,” Harry White said

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A D.C. veteran from Petworth celebrated his 105th birthday on Monday, rounding out another year in a life of service. 

Harry White was born in 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president and a loaf of bread cost about 7 cents.

“I feel good. I’m glad I turned 105,” White said. “I wish I could live another 105.”

In the past century, he served in the Army during World War II and said he later worked for the Secret Service, guarding the U.S. Treasury.

As for his secret to a long life, he said it’s all about “treating everybody right and doing the right thing in life — some of the right things in life.” (Not to mention never smoking or drinking.)

White has 19 great-grandchildren and his sons, who still live nearby, check on him every day.

“It’s wonderful to actually have him still here at 105,” Harrison White said.  

“All of us are still able to interact with him, get the benefit of his journey and his knowledge,” Michael White said. 

That journey has included tough times.

White grew up in South Carolina and recalled not being allowed into barber shops or on the bus. 

“I didn’t know that we were segregated, because we didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I didn’t have education enough then to know what segregation was. I thought that was just the way of life.”

Ward 4 D.C. Council Member Janeese Lewis George gave him a proclamation in his honor. 

“We’ve had a wonderful life, and growing up in that wonderful life was a whole lot of good things and a few bad things, but we didn’t let it put us down,” White said.  

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